At 8 a.m. BlackBerry internet services, email and BB instant messenger application were cut off for corporate and consumer users across Europe. The major outage followed an infrastructure update by BlackBerry owner RIM.
Although Vodafone customers can still make calls and send texts on their phones they have been disconnected from the BlackBerry Internet Service (BIS), which means they can’t get their emails, view web pages, use BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) or applications like Twitter or Facebook.
This author stopped receiving emails at 6.15am and has so far received no notification by text from Vodafone or RIM about the problem, although some Vodafone customers have received outage messages from their operator.
It is believed RIM embarked on a network update last night. Vodafone’s network signals are showing on users’ devices, indicating the problem is related to the RIM network and not Vodafone’s mobile network.
This is confirmed by service messages sent to a number of Vodafone customers:
*Update from RIM*
“We are currently experiencing a BlackBerry service issue impacting some users in Europe, Middle East & Africa. All relevant support teams are working to resolve the issue. We apologize to any customers who may be affected.”
And: “We are currently performing emergency maintenance on our infrastructure in the Europe region. Subscribers may experience delays in sending or receiving messages or using other services such as BlackBerry Messenger.
“Subscribers may also be unable to create new accounts, add (integrate) third-party email accounts, or use BlackBerry subscriber web sites. BlackBerry Enterprise Servers may be unable to connect to the BlackBerry Infrastructure.”
This last message confirms that both businesses and consumers are being affected by the outage.
In July BlackBerry users on the T-Mobile network also suffered an outage. BlackBerry users in Europe will now be hoping that today’s outage is still overshadowed by the mother of all BlackBerry outages which took place last October, when worldwide BlackBerry services went down for three days.
A spokeswoman said that repairs were expected to take effect “very soon.”
The failure is the latest blow to RIM, which is struggling to compete in the smartphone market against Apple, and handsets based on Google and Microsoft’s software. It echoes on a smaller scale a major failure across all networks in Europe last year, when BlackBerry owners were unable to acess internet services for almost a week.