Verizon said Thursday that it is working with the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to recall 2.5 million devices from access points after an investigation found that the devices’ lithium-ion batteries could overheat and represent a risk of fire and burns.
The Ellipsis Jetpack MHS900L, MHS900LS and MHS900LPP mobile hotspot models were imported by Franklin Wireless Corp. and sold between April 2017 and March this year, the CPSC said. The model numbers are all for the same device, but vary depending on how the customer purchased the device, through a prepaid or postpaid consumer plan.
“The safety of our customers is our highest priority,” Verizon said in a statement. “We take the situation very seriously and are working hard to determine the cause of the vendor issues and to provide all of our customers with replacement devices at no charge.”
The CPSC bulletin indicates that Verizon received 15 reports of device overheating; six of the reports involved fire damage to bedding or carpets. Two incidents involved minor burns, according to the CPSC.
A Verizon spokesperson said in an email to The Verge that about 1.3 million access point devices are currently in use by customers. The recall is aimed at the entire device, not just the batteries, and customers should not attempt to remove the batteries themselves.
The demand for access points increased over the past year during the coronavirus pandemic, as schools and libraries sought to use the devices for students who did not have internet access at home in order to complete their school work remotely.
Verizon has shipped a software update to affected access points that should help reduce the risk of devices overheating by preventing the access point from charging while it is powered on. The company also recommends that access points be turned off when not in use and kept on a flat surface with nothing on them. It’s also not a good idea to expose hotspot devices to extreme temperatures for long periods of time, Verizon says.
2.5 million hotspots removed by Verizon due to battery overheating issue