Bell Novatel MiFi 2372 “battery may swell”… customers asked to discontinue use

Kate O'Brien

April 30, 2010 1:02pm

Bell recently released the Novatel MiFi 2372 over about 6 months ago and apparently an issue has popped up. A document we received states that “Bell Mobility has become aware that in some cases a Novatel MiFi 2372 battery may swell causing the device to malfunction.” Ouch. No worries though, Bell has put a plan in place for your mobile hotspot to be replaced and in between the 6-8 week it’ll take to fix your MiFi you’ll get a Novatel U998 Turbo Stick.

They state that to “ensure that battery replacement is made simple, a new battery cover is now available. All clients with MiFi 2372 units have been asked to discontinue use of their unit and return it. Novatel will replace the existing battery as well as the battery cover. In the next few days, clients will receive a pre-addressed, prepaid envelope in which to return their device to Novatel Wireless client care centre. Bell Mobility estimates that most clients will receive their devices back within 6 to 8 weeks of receipt of the device by Novatel Wireless… In order to ensure clients discontinue use of the device until their battery and battery cover are replaced, Bell Mobility will be deactivating all Novatel Wireless MiFi 2372 devices as follows:

• Consumer, Small Business, Employee Purchase Plan and INDV accounts will be deactivated at 11:59am EDT, Monday, May 3rd 2010.
• Corporate accounts will be deactivated at 10:00pm EDT, Monday, May 3rd 2010

We regret any inconvenience this may cause our clients. If clients have any additional questions or concerns, or wish to discuss alternative temporary Internet options, please instruct them to contact Bell Mobility’s specific dedicated Novatel MiFi Client Care team at 1 800 611-6600.”

  • Andrew

    I wonder if this applies to Rogers’ Mifi as well?

  • kalto

    I bought that device specifically because I’m using it while traveling with devices that don’t have any USB port (PSP, iPod Touch, iPad, Blackberry when outside Rogers coverage). That 6 to 8 weeks waiting time is definitely not sitting well with me.

  • Chris

    It’s nice to see that Bell & Novatel are proactively recalling these, and not just blaming the customer if something goes wrong. Although I suspect this is more of an initiative by Novatel, since other manufacturers don’t recall their faulty products unless required by the government (Isn’t that right, LG?).

  • cg

    This is very odd. Why not just send a new battery and cover? Me thinks that we will not be getting our units back. Once they collect them all they’ll tell us that they’re discontinued.

  • Allan_Vancouver

    I have the Bell MiFi and was told by their support line that is was a Novatel recall. I just confirmed with the local Rogers retailer that they also have a “stop sell” on the Mifi 2372, so it looks like it is all carriers.

    Novatel taking up to 8 weeks to repair/replace and return, however, is absolutely unacceptable, so I will be returning my new Bell MiFi inside the 14 day “buyers remorse” clause and will seek another alternative product. I have found 2 so far.

  • Mike

    What crap this is to cut your network service without First sending a replacement device! There must be more than just a battery issue. Someone dropped off an large envelope at my front door last night(Sunday May 2nd) with that letter of the same wording as phone message they left on Friday afternoon. When I get at least 3 free activated USB stick devices from these rats I’ll send the Mifi back. The even want our SIM cards left in them

  • Kathy_Vancouver

    i assume they’ve discontinued service so quickly so as to limit their liability in case of fire. The Client Care rep told me that they are asking us to return the entire device (rather than just the battery and case) so that they can test for any damage that may have been done by over -heating. It’s frustrating for us customers, especially those of us who are using non-USB devices (I’m using my Mifi with an iPod touch) or those needing simultaneous access for “up to 5 devices”. Make sure to call Client nCare and have them open a support case for you. Hearing from us will encourage them to address our concerns.

  • K_Richmond

    It doesn’t take 6 to 8 weeks to replace a battery pack and cover. Either parts are not available (possible) or one or more circuit board(s) needs to be tested and possibly replaced. Not that it matters. I’ve been trying to get a replacement for my dead MiFi for the last 3 weeks. I’m guessing it won’t happen now.

  • Alain (borax99)

    Spoke with Rogers. They confirmed they have stopped selling the 2372, but had no answers about the possibility of remote deactivation or of a mass recall… I will continue to use my 2372 – on fireproof surfaces !

  • Wladyslaw Koniowalski

    I just called Bell to complain about the nature of this recall as their offer to provide me with a turbostick does not suit my needs (I don’t have a USB enabled device so wifi is a must).
    They are very firm on collecting all these devices and unwiling to compromise. Since this leaves me without service I asked them whether they could provide me with a replacement MiFi before I ship the old one off.
    To this I was told that they do not support the Mifi on their networks and won’t be able to comply. As such I decided to cancel my account since I originally bought this device full price and don’t have a contract.
    I am going to store it in a safe place and wait to see what Bell ends up doing with everyone elses devices. I suspect earlier posters may be correct and Bell is trying to get rid of these devices as part of a business decision.
    If I’m right I will have it unlocked and use it with one of the three Canadian providers.

  • Wladyslaw Koniowalski

    Thinking about this a bit further, it makes sense for them to get rid of these devices in order to make the iPad 3G a viable offering. With the mifi one could just buy the standalone iPad for half price and end up with the same thing.

  • Kevin Thornton

    Hi Kate,

    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.

  • Kathy_Vancouver

    Hi Kevin,

    Thanks for weighing in here.

    I think we would all like to know the answer to this question….

    If Novatel has communicated an exchange program for Bell and Virgin, then why can’t you provide working devices in advance(with the redesigned battery cover) for these companies to exchange with their customers?

    The 6 – 8 week turnaround is very inconvenient for those of us who use the Mifi primarily with non-USB enabled devices.