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Mobile Devices

Thuraya APsi SG-2520 SatelliteGSM Mobile Phone Teardown

03 February 2008
The following is an overview of a teardown analysis conducted by IHS Technology Teardown Services.

Main Features / Overview

Thuraya is one of 5 companies currently offering satellite mobile phone service at the time of writing (Q4 2007). Thuraya, has it's focus from Europe and Africa in the West, to much of the rest of the Asian content in the East, with it's primary service gap in the Americas, but also at the south end of the African continent, and much of the Eastern parts of China, Russia, Asia and Australia.

Thuraya currently offers two main handsets, the SO-2510 and SG-2520 (this analysis). Both handsets are from another company in Korea called APsi (Asia Pacific Satellite Industry) which appears to be the designer and manufacturer of the handsets. The main functional difference between the two handset models currently offered is that the SG-2520 also offers GSM terrestrial network accessibility, where the SO-2510 does not. However the SG-2520 also offers other additional features when compared with the SO-2510 - including camera, and SD memory card support. Both devices offer very basic GPS functionality (coordinates).

Thuraya APsi SG-2520 SatelliteGSM Mobile Phone Main ImageThuraya APsi SG-2520 SatelliteGSM Mobile Phone Main Image

Target Market

Businesses, executives operating in more remote areas, developing countries, etc. The costs of the service are above average when compared with cellular networks, and the equipment is expensive to produce in low-volumes also raising the costs. These elevated costs raise entrance-level of this device to those individuals and enterprises with the necessary budgets to overcome these barriers to entry.


Early 2007.

Pricing and Availability

From one vendor (GMPCS Personal Communications) - $1095 USD at the time of writing (Q4 2007).

Volume Estimations

For the purposes of this teardown, we estimate unit shipments for the Thuraya / APsi SG-2520 over the course of a 3 to 4-year production lifetime would be on an order of magnitude of 280K units. These volume assumptions are based on general information found on the size of Thuraya's market, but also their own press releases relative to volumes expected to be sold in 2006 and 2007. We are assuming an above average lifetime (3 to 4 years) when compared to the average cellular handset (1 - 2 years), hence increasing the volume.

Thuraya APsi SG-2520 SatelliteGSM Mobile Phone - Main PCB TopThuraya APsi SG-2520 SatelliteGSM Mobile Phone - Main PCB Top

As a reminder, volume production assumptions are not meant to be necessarily 'market accurate', but are meant primarily to be used for our cost analysis in terms of amortized NRE and tooling costs, especially for custom components specific to the model being analyzed (mechanical components especially).

Function / Performance

Functional testing was not performed on the Thuraya / APsi SG-2520

Thuraya APsi SG-2520 SatelliteGSM Mobile Phone Cost AnalysisThuraya APsi SG-2520 SatelliteGSM Mobile Phone Cost Analysis

Thuraya APsi SG-2520 SatelliteGSM Mobile Phone Cost Analysis
Cost Notes

What Is Not Included in our Cost Analysis

The total materials and manufacturing costs reported in this analysis reflect ONLY the direct materials cost (from component vendors and assorted EMS providers), AND manufacturing with basic test. Not included in this analysis are costs above and beyond the material manufacture of the core device itself - cost of intellectual property, royalties and licensing fees (those not already included into the per component price), software, software loading and test, shipping, logistics marketing and other channel costs including not only EMS provider and the OEM's margin, but that of other resellers. Our cost analysis is meant to focus on those costs incurred in the manufacture of the core device and exceptionally in some circumstances the packaging and literature as well.

Thuraya APsi SG-2520 SatelliteGSM Mobile Phone - Main PCB BottomThuraya APsi SG-2520 SatelliteGSM Mobile Phone - Main PCB Bottom

Manufacturing Notes

APsi Relationships / Manufacturing

APsi is not a well-known company, nor well-known to us at iSuppli. It is assumed that they are using EMS providers for the manufacturing, but who this would be, we do not know.

Country of Origin / EMS Provider

This product was labeled Made in Korea. Furthermore, we have assumed that for this model, that PCB was also populated, and that furthermore, custom mechanicals (plastics and metals) were sourced in Korea.

Country of origin assumptions relate directly to the associated cost of manufacturing, where calculated by iSuppli. In the cases of 'finished' sub-assemblies (such as Bluetooth modules or camera modules), we do not calculate internal manufacturing costs, but rather assess the market price of the finished product in which case country of origin assumptions may or may not have a direct effect on pricing.

Remember also that labor rates are applied directly only to hand inserted components and systems in our bill of materials, and although regional assumptions do, these new rates do not have a direct effect on our modeled calculations of placement costs for automated SMD assembly lines. "Auto inserted components (such as SMT components) placement costs are calculated by an iSuppli algorithm which allocates a cost per component based on the size and pincount of the device. This calculation is affected by country or region of origin as well.

Thuraya APsi SG-2520 SatelliteGSM Mobile Phone - Enclosure Main Top RemovalThuraya APsi SG-2520 SatelliteGSM Mobile Phone - Enclosure Main Top Removal

Design for Manufacturing / Device Complexity

Overall, the APsi / Thuraya SG-2520 has a total component count of 1842 components, of which 78 are mechanical in nature. Comparatively speaking, we have no real direct points of comparison (i.e. satellite phones), but when compared with the 'average' handset, the Thuraya SG-2520 is very, very component heavy and on the order of a laptop computer in terms of sheer component count. Athough this seemed initially shocking, this is not surprising considering APsi's totally 'discrete' approach to the design - there is little opportunity for integration in such a low-volume design.

The number of mechanical components usually is a direct driver of hand-assembly costs, whereas the electronic component count (and I/O count, density, etc.) are relative metrics for the more automated portion (namely SMT assembly) of manufacturing costs.

Component counts have a direct bearing on the overall manufacturing cycle times and costs, and also can increase or decrease overall yields and re-work. Our calculations of manufacturing costs factor counts and more qualitative complexities in the design. The cost of manufacturing is also, to some extent, decreased in this case because of assumed labor rate applied for China.

Note that manual labor has a much smaller effect on auto-insertion assembly lines (for the Main PCB, for example), where manufacturing costs are much more capital equipment intensive and driven by these investment costs.

Design Notes

Because of the dual satellite/GSM nature of the phone, and because there are really no off-the-shelf solutions that integrate the two functionalities, the SG-2520 has to essentially have all of the chips one would expect from a satellite phone, plus all the components one would expect from a basic GSM phone, which is what we see in the SG-2520. Nonetheless, we were a little surprised, given the basic functionality of the device, that there are TWO TI OMAP1510 applications processors, which seems like overkill for the application.

We are uncertain as to why this was applied and seems like a unsophisticated design in this respect. It is assumed that APsi chose to have two fully functioning 'hemispheres' of the phone, each with it's own dedicated apps processor. Given the addition, too, of a dedicated GPU for camera support and image processing, this really seems like design overkill.

The design used in both this and the SO-2510 strike us as old. The components chosen are all several years old, and the core OMAP processor used in both designs is not recommended for new designs. As we expect the lifetime of this product to be several years, it may become an issue to obtain parts if some become obsolete during the course of the product's lifetime, or at the very least, will represent increasing costs for the manufacturer.

Major components:

Main PCB


  • Application Processor - Texas Instruments - OMAP1510 - Dual Core, TMS320C55x DSP & ARM925 Core, 130nm (Qty: 2!!!)


  • Baseband - SAT - ASIC Chip - Manufacturer Unknown
  • Baseband - Single Chip - Infineon - PMB7850 - GSM/GPRS Class 12, 130nm

Battery / Power Management

  • Power Management IC - Texas Instruments - TPS65010RGZTG4
  • Power Management IC - Dialog Semiconductor - D0767CB


  • MCP - 64Mb NOR Flash + 16Mb PSRAM - ST Microelectronics - M36W0T6040T1ZAQ
  • MCP - 128Mb NOR Flash + 64Mb PSRAM - Intel - RD38F3050L0ZBQ0
  • Flash Disk-On-Chip - 1Gb - M-Systems - MD8832-d1G-V3-X-P
  • SDRAM - 512Mb (8M x 16Bit x 4 Banks) - Samsung Semiconductor - K4M511633C-BL750


  • RF Transceiver - Skyworks - SKY74963 - ZIF, Quad-Band GSM/GPRS, w/ Integrated VCO
  • PAM - Skyworks - SKY77500 - Quad-Band, GSM/GPRS, w/ Integrated Antenna Switch

SAT Rx / Tx

  • IF Subsystem - Analog Devices - AD9864BCPZ - w/ LNA, Mixer, Band-Pass ADC, Decimation Filter, & AGC Circuit
  • TX IF - NEC - uPC8195K - AGC Amplifier & Quadryture Modulator

User Interface

  • GPU - Nvidia - GOFORCE 4000
  • Audio Codec - Texas Instruments - TLV320AIC1110ZQER - PCM Audio Codec - Built-In DAC & ADC
  • Audio Codec - Texas Instruments - TLV320AIC23BIGQE - Stereo, 8-96kHz, w/ Integrated Headphone Amplifier
  • PCM Sound Generator - Oki Semiconductor - ML2864 - 64 Polyphony
  • SMbus - 16-bit GPIO Expansion - NXP - PCA9535BS


  • GPS Baseband / RF - SiRF Technology - GSC3f-7879 - SiRFstarIII, 50MHz ARM7TDMI CPU, 1Mb SRAM, 4Mb Flash, 20-Channel GPS, 3.0V, 10 GPIO Ports

Keypad PCB

  • Bluetooth - CSR - BC213159A15U - BlueCore2-Audio - Single Chip Bluetooth Solution, V1.2, 0.18um

Camera Module

  • Module - Manufacturer MONEX - Camera - 1.3MP, CMOS, 1/4' Format - Fixed Lens
  • Image sensor - Micron Technology - MT9M112 - 1.3MP, CMOS, 1/4' Format - 2.8um x 2.8um Pixel Size, 3.6mm x 2.9mm Active Image Area

Display Module

  • 1.9' Diagonal, 262K Color TFT, 176 x 220 Pixels


Thuraya APsi SG-2520 SatelliteGSM Mobile Phone - Box ContentsThuraya APsi SG-2520 SatelliteGSM Mobile Phone - Box Contents

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