10 Comments

Summary:

Novatel MiFi 2372 owners have been notified by Bell Mobility that a potential danger exists due to swelling batteries and a recall has been issued. The issue is considered serious enough that Bell Mobility shut MiFi accounts down yesterday to prevent the usage of the MiFi.

mifi-bomb-20100503-350

Novatel may not get enough public airtime, and news coming out today is probably not the kind they want. The MiFi is often touted as one of the greatest innovations for mobile workers, but Bell customers may be questioning that today. Novatel MiFi 2372 owners have been notified by Bell Mobility that a potential danger exists due to swelling batteries and a recall has been issued. The issue is considered serious enough that Bell Mobility shut MiFi accounts down yesterday to prevent the usage of the MiFi 2372.

MiFi owners are being provided a USB stick modem to use for the 6 to 8 weeks it will take Bell Mobility to exchange the battery and battery cover for affected MiFis. It’s good that Bell is providing an alternative modem, although the USB variety requires a computer to use. This shuts out those who might have been using the MiFi to connect the iPad to the web.

Note that other MiFi models are not affected.

Image credit: Engadget

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  1. Sure it is going to explode. How can’t it.
    With Bell charging over twice the amount of $ for a similar data plan as in the US!
    Canada sux with data plans :(

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  2. Alain (borax99) Tuesday, May 4, 2010

    Rogers also distributes the MiFi 2372 in Canada. Their approach so far has been to discontinue sales, but I have yet to hear of any recall plan… Pure speculation, but I’m wondering if Bell simply moved more MiFi units than Rogers. Or, to be hopeful, maybe Bell is, er, overestimating the risk? I would sure hate to give up my Rogers unit for a weekend, let alone 6 to 8 weeks.

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  3. Hi James,

    This is Kevin Thornton with the Novatel Wireless team, below is the official statement from Novatel Wireless regarding the Bell MiFi 2372:

    Novatel’s top priorities are to serve our customers and end-consumers and to provide for the safe use of our products. There have been two incidents reported from Bell and Virgin Mobile Canada, with battery overheating issues. While we can’t comment on specific consumer incidents, it has been reported that some customers have had difficulties opening the battery door thus utilizing sharp objects or excessive force to open it. While doing this, customers can inadvertently puncture the battery when trying to remove it and this can cause the battery to over-heat. To reduce the probability of user-induced damage to the battery, we have redesigned the battery door to make it easier to open.

    Any product or battery issue is considered a matter of utmost importance for Novatel Wireless. Consistent with that and as a preventive measure, the Company has communicated an exchange program for Bell and Virgin Mobile Canada customers to replace the MiFi 2372 battery and battery door.

    The MiFi 2200 — addressing the CDMA market — represents the majority of the MiFi units we have sold and has different design features and components, hence, it is not effected.

    The EMEA MiFi 2352 is shipping with a new battery cover.

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    1. Kevin, thanks for chiming in with the official response. It is greatly appreciated to know exactly what the issue might be.

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  4. Alain (borax99) Tuesday, May 4, 2010

    The response from Novatel is much appreciated. I have run into the problem with the battery cover, but thankfully have never had to resort to sharp objects!

    I am somewhat reassured about my Rogers unit. It’s amazing how quickly such a device becomes one you would prefer not to live without. When I spoke to Rogers over the phone, the sales person said “simply return it to your distributor and get your money back.” HA! The line about “cold dead hands” springs to mind.

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  5. This is very unfortunate situation.

    May the 4th be with you !

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  6. I bought my 2372 from a reseller in Kiev. I sort of can understand what they’re saying about the battery door being hard to open. I have to use my fingernails and it requires a rather nontrivial amount of effort. I can see how people would be tempted to use a thin screwdriver or a knife.

    I’m fairly confident that the place I bought it isn’t going to proactively notify me that a new battery door is available. But alas, Novatel’s site is all about “don’t call us for any reason – call your provider or distributor.” At the same time, the cost of them just putting a battery door in the mail addressed to me would be substantially lower for all concerned. That, and I haven’t damaged my battery any, so unless there are design changes for the actual battery, there’s no reason to replace mine.

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  7. I’ve had no issues whit the mifi device yet its been 5 weeks since bell shut down my mifi device and still no replacement device has been issued to me. Yet I was billed for the month. I went to the store I bought my mifi from which I bought a month before the recall was issued, to get my money back. Bell employe has answered me, sorry sir you hav used your mifi for more then 30 dayand you cannot have your money back. Contact novatell. Novatell has yet to reply. Something wrong whit this picture in my opignion. I think I’m goinh to have to resort to a lawyer soon if novatell nor bell decides to not take action.

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    1. borax99 (Alain C.) Wednesday, May 26, 2010

      I just got an email from a Novatel rep yesterday. “Material to support this effort will not be available until mid-June.” Situation sucks all around. Shipped mine off and missing it very, very badly. Bon courage vieux, le prochain cauchemar, c’est que le MiFi 2372 ne marche pas à la vitesse du nouveau réseau HSPA+ (21 Mbps), seulement au débit du vieux réseau HSPA (7.2 mbps) Donc, d’une manière ou d’une autre, nous allons tous écoper …

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  8. Okay so we sent out our Bell MiFi about 10 weeks ago and we still havent gotten it back?

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