BlackBerry data services suffer massive outage

A huge outage across Europe, the Middle East and Africa cut BlackBerry users off from access to their email, internet and other web services for hours

Blackberry users across Europe, the Middle East and Africa have been hit by a data outage that cut off access to email, the internet and instant messaging, among other services.

BlackBerry handset

A serious outage has hit users of RIM's BlackBerry phones across Europe, Africa and the Middle East. Photo credit: Ben Woods

The outage began on Monday at around 10:20am BST and is still continuing, according to posts to Twitter by BlackBerry owners and service providers. Carriers in the UK are blaming Research In Motion for the problem, and the Canadian company confirmed the downtime in a short statement on Monday.

"We are working to resolve an issue currently impacting some BlackBerry subscribers in Europe, Middle East and Africa," RIM said. "We're investigating, and we apologise to our customers for any inconvenience caused whilst this is resolved."

Reports in the Telegraph and elsewhere have suggested that a RIM datacentre in Slough delivers data services in that region, but the company declined to give any further details about the cause of the outage. RIM has other network operations centres in EMEA apart from Slough.

The Blackberry Internet Service (BIS) — comprising Blackberry Messenger (BBM), email and web services — was affected, according to customers posting to Twitter and in the official BlackBerry forum. The outage potentially affects millions, given that Research In Motion's declared subscriber base worldwide is 70 million. Du, a telecoms operator in the United Arab Emirates, estimated as many as 50 percent of BlackBerry customers in EMEA could be affected.

RIM did not say whether corporate customers on BlackBerry Enterprise Services had been hit.  

Kenyan services provider, Vodafone Egypt and T-Mobile UK were among the carriers noting that there was a problem with BlackBerry service. Du in UAE said "degradation is ongoing".

However, some customers started reporting on Twitter that their service had begun to come back at around 4:45pm on Monday.

RIM estimates that service will be restored by about 8pm, according to Kuwaiti service provider Wataniya Telecom

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