Verizon recalls 2.5 million mobile hotspots flagged as fire hazard

Ellipsis Jetpack mobile hotspot devices sold by Verizon have been recalled after it was determined the lithium-ion battery could overheat, creating a fire and burn hazard.

The recall impacts 2.5 million of the devices, imported by Franklin Wireless and sold from April 2017 through March 2021. It applies to models MHS900L, MHS900LS and MHS900LPP.

Verizon put out a statement Thursday, alongside a notice from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).

“The safety of our customers is our highest priority. 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,” Verizon stated.

Verizon is exchanging the Ellipsis Jetpack mobile hotspots with an Orbic Speed.

Recalled Ellipsis Jetpack mobile hotspot
Source:  U.S. CPSC

According to the CPSC, Verizon received 15 reports of devices overheating. That includes six incidents of fire damage to bedding or flooring and two reports of minor burn injuries.

The devices were sold nationwide at Verizon stores, as well as other retailers, online and to some school districts. Schools that gave the mobile hotspots to students were contacted by Verizon with information on how to get new devices and return the recalled Ellipsis Jetpacks, according to CPSC.

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In addition to providing free replacement devices to customers, Verizon said all of the Ellipsis Jetpacks that are powered on already have automatically received two over-the-air software updates. One to help exchange defective devices by allowing the identifying number to appear on the hotspot’s scrolling screen. The other is meant to reduce some of the risk of overheating by preventing charging while the device is both plugged in and powered on.

The CPSC also advises consumers to turn off the mobile hotspot, unplug it and store it on a hard surface, keeping it uncovered for proper ventilation and away from combustibles to reduce the risk of fire.

The mobile hotspot recall comes as the criticalness of connectivity in the spotlight for many, with more people working and learning remotely.  

Verizon and other service providers have taken steps to keep Americans connected throughout Covid-19, with various offers and programs. Verizon started its Distance Learning Program in response to the pandemic, offering discounted unlimited 4G LTE service plans to school districts in states across the U.S.

Verizon also provided 50,000 4G LTE data plans and Jetpack mobile hotspots for students in Oklahoma last year as part of a grant award and efforts to support students’ digital learning.