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Verizon remembers 2.5 million hotspot devices due to fire hazard

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

Brendan McDermid | Reuters

Verizon remembers 2.5 million hotspot devices after discovering that the lithium-ion battery could overheat, creating fire and burning hazards.

The recall affects the Ellipsis Jetpack mobile hotspots imported by Franklin Wireless Corp and sold between April 201

7 and March 2021. The affected models are branded: MHS900L, MHS900LS and MHS900LPP. Verizon unveiled the recall Thursday along with a statement from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).

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

According to the CPSC recall notice, Verizon had received 15 reports of hotspot overheating. Six of these reports included incidents of fire damage to bedding or floors and two involving minor burns.

The recall comes at a time when several consumers have relied on hotspots to get past during home bookings as a result of the pandemic. Some of the hotspots were provided to students by their schools to continue distance learning, according to the recall notice. Parents who received hotspots from their children’s schools are advised to contact the schools for a refund.

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 hotspots that are turned on, which it said will help reduce the risk of overheating. The update prevents the hotspot from charging while it is turned on. Verizon also offered tips to avoid overheating, including turning off devices when not in use, laying them on a flat, solid surface, and ensuring that nothing covers them and not exposing them to extreme temperatures for extended periods of time.

“The safety of our customers is our top priority,” Verizon said in a statement. “We take the situation very seriously and we work diligently to find the cause of the problems with the supplier and to supply replacement units to all our customers for free.”

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