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Huawei E180 HSPA USB Dongle Teardown

30 January 2009
The following is an overview of a teardown analysis conducted by IHS Technology Teardown Services.

Overview / Main Features

The Huawei E180 HSPA USB Dongle is a HSDPA/HSUPA external USB broadband modem capable of up to 7.2Mbps downstream and 2Mbps upstream performance. The E180 is a dual band HSPA/UMTS (900 & 2100 MHz) and quad band EDGE/GPRS/GSM (850/900/1800/1900 MHz) compatible broadband modem based on a Qualcomm MSM6290 design.

The slim Huawei dongle features a retractable USB connector that folds away for improved portability and features a microSD card slot just below the SIM card reader. The device is bundled with software drivers with support for both Windows and Mac-based PCs.

Huawei E180 HSPA USB Dongle Main ImageHuawei E180 HSPA USB Dongle Main Image

Target Market

Wireless Data service providers / Wireless data consumers (primarily business professionals)


Per press releases, first release globally on June 2008.

Huawei E180 HSPA USB Dongle - Main PCB TopHuawei E180 HSPA USB Dongle - Main PCB Top

Pricing and Availability

Pricing - Typically, mobile broadband modules are heavily subsided by the service provides. For USB dongle 3G modems, the cost to the user is typically free. However, if one were to purchase the modem on the open market, the Huawei E180 commands approximately $180.

Availability - assumed global

Volume Estimations

For the purposes of this teardown analysis, we have assumed a lifetime production volume of 4M units.

As a reminder, teardown volume production assumptions are primarily 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). Unless assumed volumes are different by an order of magnitude, minor changes in volume (say 1 million vs. 2) rarely have a large net effect on our final analysis because of this.

Huawei E180 HSPA USB Dongle - Main PCB BottomHuawei E180 HSPA USB Dongle - Main PCB Bottom

Market / Sector Performance

According to a topical paper on WWAN modems titled "Mobile Broadband Shifts into High Gear with USB Modems, iSuppli estimates 13.8 million WWAN modems were shipped in 2007, growing at a CAGR of nearly 50% to reach 103.22 million shipments by 2012. These estimates include those modems shipped as PCMCIA cards, USB dongles (as in this case) or embedded modules.

The report cites six major modem suppliers of WWAN connectivity for mobile PCs: Huawei, Sierra Wireless, Novatel, Option, Ericsson and Qualcomm. Also, in terms of both revenue and units shipped, Huawei leads with the highest growth rate between 2006 and 2007 among the major suppliers of external WWAN modems.

Huawei E180 HSPA USB Dongle Cost AnalysisHuawei E180 HSPA USB Dongle Cost Analysis

Cost Notes

Main Cost Drivers Representing ~78% of total materials cost

Qualcomm - MSM6290 - Baseband Processor - Single-Chip, Quad-Band GSM/EDGE, WCDMA, 7.2Mbps HSDPA, 5.76Mbps HSUPA, Support 5M Camera & High-Speed USB, Integrated A-GPS

Samsung Semiconductor - K5D1G13ACH-D075 - MCP - 1Gb NAND Flash + 512Mb Mobile SDRAM

Qualcomm - RTR6285 - RF Transceiver - ZIF, Quad-Band GSM/EDGE & Tri-Band UMTS Transceiver, GPS Receiver, Support Receive Diversity, 0.18um RF CMOS

Qualcomm - PM6658 - Power Management IC w/ Integrated USB Transceiver

RF Micro Devices - RF3161 - PAM - Quad-Band GSM/EDGE

8-Layer - FR4/RCF HDI, 2+4+2, Pb Free

Vishay - 592D - Tantalum - Conformal Coated

Linear Tech - LTC3442EDE - Regulator - DC-DC Converter, Synchronous Buck-Boost, 1.2A, w/ Automatic Burst Mode Operation

Avago - AFEM-7780-TR1 - Transmit Module - PAM - WCDMA 2100, w/ Integrated FBAR Duplexer

Murata - Antenna Switch - GSM/UMTS Dual Mode

Total BOM Cost $39.87

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.

Manufacturing Notes

OEM/ODM/EMS Relationships / Manufacturing

Huawei is a vertically integrated company and conducts all of their manufacturing in house.

Country of Origin / Volume Assumptions

Based on markings, the unit was assembled in China. Furthermore, we have assumed that custom mechanicals (plastics, metals, etc. were also sourced in China.

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 microSD card reader), 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.

Design for Manufacturing / Device Complexity

The total component count for the Huawei E180 is 414 which happen to be one less than the previously analyzed Huawei E220 USB dongle. This level of component complexity places the E180 within the norms of similar HSPA broadband modems and about half as much as one would expect to see in a mobile handset.

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

The core design is based on Qualcomm's MSM6290 chipset which includes the MSM6280 chip itself and a secondary baseband IC, the Qualcomm PM6658 power management IC with integrated USB transciever and the Qualcomm RTR6285 RF Transceiver IC.

The PA section features 3 power amps: 2 discrete band WCDMA/UMTS (900 & 2100MHz) from Avago and 1 RF Micro Devices quad-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE.

The memory section features a Samsung MCP with 1Gb NAND Flash + 512Mb Mobile SDRAM.

Here is a summary of the major components used in the Huawei E180 HSPD USB Dongle design:

Main PCB


  • Baseband Processor - Qualcomm - MSM6290


  • MCP - Samsung Semiconductor - K5D1G13ACH-D075

Power Management

  • Power Management IC - Qualcomm - PM6658

RF Transceiver

  • RF Transceiver - Qualcomm - RTR6285 ZIF
  • Antenna Switch - Murata (GSM/UMTS Dual Mode)

Power Amplifier

  • Transmit Module 2100MHz - Avago - AFEM-7780-TR1
  • PAM - WCDMA/HSDPA 900MHz - Avago - ACPM-7371-TR1
  • PAM - Quad-Band GSM/EDGE - RF Micro Devices - RF3161

Huawei E180 HSPA USB Dongle - Enclosure DisassemblyHuawei E180 HSPA USB Dongle - Enclosure Disassembly

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