BlackBerry’s continuing ‘partial outages’ in Europe, Africa, & Middle East

BlackBerry users in the Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) region have found themselves cut off from online-communications for three days running, following a failure of BlackBerry’s Internet Service.

The first outage of the service, which allows BlackBerry users to browse the internet, send and receive emails, instant message using BlackBerry Messenger, and access a wide range of apps at a monthly fee, was on Monday and lasted over 12-hours.

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Tuesday’s outage struck at approximately the same time Monday’s began. This outage, however, has lasted much longer with some users cut off from services for more than 17-hours.

Once again, the first responders were mobile carriers who took to social networks to explain the situation to their customers.

South Africa’s largest network Vodacom’s initial statements plead not having had any official word from BlackBerry maker Research In Motion, RIM. Other networks from the EMEA region had similar messages for their customers.

Both Batelco, a Bahraini network, and Vodafone Egypt explained to customers that there was a “partial outage”, affecting “some users”.

Like Vodacom, both networks promised to keep customers up to date.

After Monday’s blackout had seemingly been resolved RIM had replied to questions regarding what the cause was with the following statement.

…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.

In its latest statement, however, there is further explanation from the beleaguered Canadian company.

The messaging and browsing delays being experienced by BlackBerry users in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, India, Brazil, Chile and Argentina were caused by a core switch failure within RIM’s infrastructure. Although the system is designed to failover to a back-up switch, the failover did not function as previously tested. As a result, a large backlog of data was generated and we are now working to clear that backlog and restore normal service as quickly as possible. We apologise for any inconvenience and we will continue to keep you informed.

Initial reports following Monday’s outage linked a data centre in Slough, England which reportedly services the entire EMEA.

Following the seeming resolution of Monday’s outage, suppositions and unsubstantiated rumours abounded on social networks. Some speculated that RIM was shaping data, restricting how much data can be consumed, as some users reported not being able to access all their services.

According to Al-Jazeera, some fear — following a service disruption in the Americas last month — that RIM’s “servers are not secure enough”.

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