Verizon recalls 2.5 million hotspot devices due to fire hazard

Verizon CEO Hans Vestberg speaks on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange, October 22, 2019.

Brendan McDermid | Reuters

Verizon is recalling 2.5 million hotspot devices after discovering that the lithium ion battery can overheat, creating a fire and burning hazard.

The recall impacts Ellipsis Jetpack mobile hotspots imported by Franklin Wireless Corp and sold between April 2017 and March 2021. The affected models are labeled: MHS900L, MHS900LS and MHS900LPP. Verizon disclosed the recall Thursday alongside a notice from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).

A Verizon spokesperson said just over 1 million of the recalled devices are currently in use, meaning currently or recently used by customers.

According to the recall notice posted by the CPSC, Verizon had received 15 reports of the hotspots overheating. Six of those reports included incidents of fire damage to bedding or flooring and two involved minor burn injuries.

The recall comes at a time when more consumers have relied on hotspots to get by during stay-at-home orders resulting from the pandemic. Some of the hotspots were supplied to students by their schools to continue remote learning, according to the recall notice. Parents who received hotspots from their children’s schools are advised to contact the schools about receiving a replacement.

Other customers can request a replacement by going to ellipsisjetpackrecall.expertinquiry.com or calling 855-205-2627.

The company has already sent a software update to powered-on hotspots that it said will help reduce the risk of overheating. The update prevents the hotspot from charging while it’s powered on. Verizon also offered tips to avoid overheating, including turning off devices when they are not being used, putting them on a flat, solid surface, ensuring nothing is covering them and not exposing them to extreme temperatures for lengthy periods of time.

“The safety of our customers is our highest priority,” Verizon said in a statement. “We are taking the situation very seriously, and we are working diligently to determine the cause of the issues with the supplier and to provide replacement devices for all of our customers, free of charge.”

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