Update: BlackBerry outages hit Europe, Middle East and South America

12-hour outage on Monday followed by another today

Some BlackBerry users in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, South America and India are experiencing messaging and browsing delays, Research In Motion reported today, in the second day of BlackBerry disruptions.

A spokeswoman for RIM sent a statement at 11:06 a.m. ET today saying the messaging and browsing delays affected "some users" in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, India, Brazil, Chile and Argentina.

She apologized for the inconvenience and said RIM is working to restore normal service as quickly as possible.

RIM, which sells BlackBerry devices and operates BlackBerry services globally with various wireless carriers, had said early today that a separate problem on Monday "was resolved and services are operating normally," according to an email from a U.K.-based RIM spokeswoman.

Starting at about 10 a.m. ET today, T-Mobile UK and Vodafone Egypt issued separate tweets on their respective Twitter feeds regarding a second partial BlackBerry outage.

"This is affecting all mobile networks across the EU," TMobile UK tweeted. "BlackBerry are working on this at present."

Referring to the Monday outage, the RIM spokeswoman only said that some BlackBerry subscribers in the EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Asia) region "experienced delays with BlackBerry services."

She apologized to customers but didn't say what caused the problem or what services and how many users were affected. RIM has not explained the cause of any of several brief outages in the past three years.

Computerworld UK, however, reported this morning that the outage affected mostly smaller companies and consumers on the BlackBerry Internet Service (BIS). Those BIS customers were unable to access email, BlackBerry Messenger instant messaging and other Web services from about 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday, U.K. time, the website said.

Reports indicated that a server problem in RIM's Slough, U.K., data center was to blame for the Monday outage, but RIM has not confirmed that information. Many affected users posted concerns on Twitter accounts Monday and today, possibly from devices not affected by the problems.

Some mobile operators in Europe had taken note of the RIM problems Monday, including T-Mobile in the UK, which issued an advisory to its customers using BlackBerry devices: "Over the past 24 hours, BlackBerry products have experienced a number of problems with email, Internet and messaging services. This is due to a European-wide outage on the BlackBerry network run by BlackBerry's manufacturer RIM, which is affecting all mobile operators. RIM has apologised for the interruption to services and said it's working to restore normal operations. They have committed to provide further updates. If you have further concerns, please contact RIM directly via their website, www.rim.com."

While that T-Mobile advisory referred users to the RIM website, nothing appeared on the website explaining the situation.

While the outage has affected BIS customers, customers using BlackBerry devices connected to BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES) inside of their companies may not have been affected.

An editor for the IDG News Service in Paris said his BlackBerry functioned fine on Monday. His device connects through a BES server located in the news service's Boston office, he said. However, that same editor said he lost BlackBerry email service after about 2 p.m. Paris time (8 a.m. ET) on Tuesday.

IDG News Service reporter Mikael Ricknas contributed to this story.

Matt Hamblen covers mobile and wireless, smartphones and other handhelds, and wireless networking for Computerworld. Follow Matt on Twitter at @matthamblen or subscribe to Matt's RSS feed. His e-mail address is mhamblen@computerworld.com.

Copyright © 2011 IDG Communications, Inc.

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