Network technology company Cohere Technologies closed a key funding round to fuel the launch of a spectral efficiency product it claimed will play an important role in open RAN, while also opening the prospect of fresh deals with some of the sector’s biggest names.

The $46 million Series-D round was led by existing investor Koch Investment Group along with new investors including Juniper Networks, Intel Capital and VMware.

Juniper Network’s participation was particularly intriguing, suggesting Cohere Technologies could have something brewing with the company involving RAN Intelligent Controllers (RICs).

But Ronny Haraldsvik, Cohere Technologies’ SVP of development and marketing, told Mobile World Live the main focus for now is advancing its plans to finalise the launch of its Universal Spectrum Multiplier (USM) software across 4G and 5G networks.

Cohere Technologies aims to complete the launch by the year-end, with Haraldsvik explaining a previous target of end-2021 was amended to allow time for the O-RAN Alliance to complete standardisation work.

Haraldsvik said Cohere Technologies had previously raised about $70 million and the latest cash infusion will be used to hire engineers and other employees, as well as possibly open new locations across the three continents where it is conducting trials with operators.

In 2021, VMware added the USM to its RIC platform, and both companies were part of an effort by Deutsche Telekom in 2020 to build a virtual RAN platform.

The company also participated in a Vodafone Group laboratory trial.

Cohere Technologies plans to conduct FDD, and 4G and 5G USM trials during H1 2022, along with demonstrations of a potential 6G system using its Orthogonal Time Frequency Space (OTFS) waveform.

Haraldsvik said Cohere Technologies had doubled, and in some cases quadrupled, spectrum across both 4G and 5G, “but we can bring the two together and not penalise one or the other”.