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Cohere CEO: New product, customer names coming this year

Startup Cohere Technologies on Tuesday announced more features and functions based on its massive MIMO scheduler and Delay-Doppler channel software technologies, and promised that the offering would be commercially available later this year.

The company also said it has received more funding and, according to CEO Ray Dolan, Cohere is now "very well funded into the future." Dolan declined to provide details.

But perhaps the most important update from Cohere was Dolan's promise that the company expects to begin naming operator customers and investors sometime later this year.

"I knew this was going to take a while," he said of Cohere's efforts in the wireless market. "The question is: Can we get commercial traction?"

The answer, Dolan said, will be clear by the end of 2021.

Founded in 2011, Cohere had previously been pitching hardware-based fixed wireless access gear to network operators, with little success. A change of strategy came soon after the appointment of Dolan, wireless technology industry veteran, as CEO in October 2018. Dolan hails from Qualcomm and startup Flarion Technologies, and is aware of the difficulty of introducing new wireless technologies into the market.

Cohere early last year aligned itself with the open RAN trend – which is not surprising considering open RAN network designs are specifically intended to allow operators to insert new products and services from a variety of vendors, such as Cohere, into their networks.

Now, Cohere is boasting of an all-software-based approach that centers on its "Spectrum Multiplier platform," which the company said can help increase a mobile network operator's overall spectral efficiency by as much as 2x. That's critical considering spectral efficiency is central to an operator's ability to provide faster speeds and support more customers. Dolan explained that the company's new platform helps move Cohere's technology from local operations and into the cloud, from 4G to 5G, and from 4x4 MIMO to massive MIMO technologies.

"It appears to be effective," said Heavy Reading principal analyst Gabriel Brown of Cohere's technology. "I think if this actually does work, they won't have trouble with funding."

Brown explained that operators now have several options when it comes to integrating Cohere's technology into the design of their networks, which stems from the fact that it's software and does not require operators to purchase new phones or basestations. Brown explained that Cohere's technology will benefit from operators increasingly embracing the open RAN trend, but that other vendors too will have to ensure their products can snap into Cohere's offerings through open RAN interfaces.

Analyst Mike Thelander of Signals Research Group also said Cohere's claims appear promising, and that he's aware of a handful of operators who are "deeply involved" in testing the company's technology.

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Mike Dano, Editorial Director, 5G & Mobile Strategies, Light Reading | @mikeddano

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