Verizon's Recalling 2.5 Million of Its Dangerously Literal Hotspots

Illustration for article titled Verizon's Recalling 2.5 Million of Its Dangerously Literal Hotspots
Photo: David Ramos (Getty Images)

Verizon, along with the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), has issued a recall of roughly 2.5 million Ellipsis Jetpack hotspots as they, quite literally, get too hot to handle.

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So far, Verizon has received 15 reports of the devices overheating, six of which resulted in fire damage to bedding or flooring, according to CPSC. There were also two reports of minor burn injuries. The issue appears to be with the lithium-ion battery, which can potentially overheat. Per a Verizon statement, the affected models are the MHS900L, MHS900LS, and MHS900LPP and were imported via Franklin Wireless Corp. The recalled hotspots are made of dark navy plastic, are oval in shape, and measure 3.5 inches wide and 2.25 inches tall. The units were sold at Verizon stores nationwide to customers, as well as other stores and school districts, between April 2017 and March of this year.

What the recalled mobile hotspots look like.
What the recalled mobile hotspots look like.
Image: CPSC

If you have one of these units, Verizon is offering free replacements for an Orbic Speed device. You can also visit Verizon’s recall page to find more details about how to exchange the hotspot or call 855-205-2627.

Hotspots became a popular option once the pandemic hit. In particular, they’ve served as a bandaid for schools trying to provide internet access for the 17 million students who lack home internet for remote learning. If you received one of the recalled Ellipsis Jetpack hotspots from a school, the CPSC recommends contacting your school for further instruction and mailing packages to safely return the device.

In the meantime, Verizon has pushed out two over-the-air updates for affected devices. One allows you to more easily find the device’s IMEI number—which is needed to exchange the hotspot—while the other reduces the chances of overheating by preventing the device from charging while powered on and plugged in.

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Obviously, the best course of action is to return the device as quickly as possible. However, if it’s your only source of internet connectivity, there are a few things you can do until a return is possible. After receiving the updates, the CPSC recommends, leave the device powered on while plugged in. When not in use, it says the device should be turned off, unplugged, and stored in a fire-safe area away from children. Verizon also recommends storing the device on “flat, solid, and sturdy” surfaces, and away from extreme temperatures. And while the issue is battery-related, consumers should not attempt to remove it themselves.

Consumer tech reporter by day, danger noodle by night. No, I'm not the K-Pop star.

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