Verizon recalls millions of Wi-Fi hotspots over fire risk

(Image credit: Verizon)

After an investigation found that the lithium-ion batteries in one of its mobile hotspots could overheat and possibly catch fire, Verizon is now working with the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) on a recall of 2.5m devices.

The device in question is the Ellipsis Jetpack mobile hotspot which the US telecom imported from Franklin Wireless and sold between April 2017 and March of this year. Affected models include MHS900L, MHS900LS, and MHS900LPP and while the they are all the same device, the model number is different depending on whether customers purchased them through a prepaid or postpaid plan.

According to the CPSC's recall notice, Verizon has received 15 different reports of the devices overheating including six reports of fire damage to bedding or flooring and two reports of minor burn injuries. 

In a statement on its site, Verizon provided further details on the recall and explained that its working with the device manufacturer to provide customers with replacement devices, saying:

“During investigations with the supplier, it has been determined that the lithium-ion battery in the Ellipsis Jetpack devices can overheat, posing a fire and burn hazard. 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.”

Ellipsis Jetpack mobile hotspot recall

In addition to initiating a recall, Verizon has also sent two over-the-air, automatic software updates to all powered-on Ellipsis Jetpack mobile hotspots. 

While the first update enables the device's identifying number to be viewed on its scrolling screen to make it easier to exchange, the second update prevents the device from charging while it is plugged in and powered on to reduce the risk of overheating.

According to The Verge which spoke with a spokesperson from Verizon, there are currently around 1.3m Ellipsis Jetpack mobile hotspots in use and the recall focuses on the entire device and not just the overheating batteries.

Verizon customers that have one of the affected mobile hotspots can visit this website or call 855-205-2627 for more information on how to exchange their device for a new one.

Via The Verge

Anthony Spadafora

After working with the TechRadar Pro team for the last several years, Anthony is now the security and networking editor at Tom’s Guide where he covers everything from data breaches and ransomware gangs to the best way to cover your whole home or business with Wi-Fi. When not writing, you can find him tinkering with PCs and game consoles, managing cables and upgrading his smart home.