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Users of BlackBerry smartphones midday Monday began noticing that services accessed using BlackBerry’s Internet Service (BIS), were down.
Initially it seemed that the service failures were localised to particular networks, then entire countries, before it emerged that this was a problem being experienced across the entire Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) region.
The blackout, Blackberry users reported, lasted for more than 12-hours.
According to a report by The Telegraph, this entire region is served by a Research In Motion (RIM) data centre in Slough, England. RIM is the maker of the popular smartphone.
Carriers across the EMEA region were forced to reply to irate customers explaining the situation.
TMobile UK, posted multiple messages replying to customers’ complaints on Twitter explaining that the service disruption was not their fault and that “RIM are investigating this as we speak”.
Batelco, a carrier in Bahrain tweeted that, “Please note the issue with BlackBerry service is effecting all of #Bahrain, and it is dealt with by BlackBerry providers in Canada #Batelco”.
Vodafone Egypt’s Twitter account repeatedly explained to its customer’s that “There is [a] Blackberry outage, it’s from RIM side (Blackberry manufacturer), stay tuned with us till further updates.”
Not all, however, deemed the explanations from the networks sufficient.
Hours after carriers across the EMEA region had been fielding questions from irate customers, BlackBerry’s official global help Twitter account issued the first statement from the Canada based company addressing the issue.
Shortly after that tweet was published, Memeburn received official communication from RIM.
We are working to resolve an issue currently impacting some BlackBerry subscribers in Europe, Middle East and Africa. We’re investigating, and we apologise to our customers for any inconvenience caused whilst this is resolved.
Following the restoration of services, RIM replied to Memeburn inquiries regarding what was the cause of the blackout, saying,
…we don’t typically get information about the cause of service issues right away. The immediate priority is always to return service to normal operation. Once service has returned and is stable, the teams then begin investigating the cause of the issue, which can take several days.
According to the Telegraph’s report, users of BlackBerry’s business package, BlackBerry Enterprise Service, were not affected by this outage.
BIS is the service which provides BlackBerry smartphone users with access to internet browsing, email messaging, instant messaging using the BlackBerry Messenger service, and access to a wide range of apps at a monthly fee.
The service has been credited as the reason for BlackBerry’s immense popularity amongst youth in developed nations and explosive growth in emerging markets such as South Africa where data charges can be prohibitively expensive.