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BlackBerry BBM, email downed in epic FAIL

Online service outage in Europe, Middle East and Africa

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BlackBerry users in Europe, the Middle East and Africa have been cut off from their online services because of a major fault at Research in Motion (RIM) in Canada.

Irate owners haven't been able to get into their emails, browse the web or use the service that is most precious to them – instant messenger BBM. BBM is the major selling point of a BlackBerry, especially to the yoof, because it doesn't cost them anything to use, unlike text messages.

But one of the reasons it is free is because, along with all other internet services, it is routed through RIM in Canada, where the problem is now occurring.

Service providers from Europe and the Middle East have been reaching out to their customers on Twitter to let them know that RIM is working on the problem.

Zain Kuwait said: "Sorry for the BlackBerry temporary disconnection from the main source, it's out of our control, it will be back soon, sorry".

A tweet from Qtel Qatar said: "We are aware of the BlackBerry service interruption which has affected many parts of the world & it's currently being resolved by BlackBerry".

Etisalat UAE and Batelco in Bahrain also let their customers know that the problem was being worked on by RIM.

In the UK, Orange and T-Mobile had both tweeted their customers, while TIM in Italy said two hours ago that there were still problems with BlackBerry services. There were also reports that MTN and Vodacom users in South Africa were having BlackBerry issues.

The users took to Twitter to vent their frustrations at the outage. A BlackBerry owner named carrryn said he or she was "HYPERVENTILATING RIGHT NOW" over the problem, while mild-mannered ex-government spin-meister Alastair Campell tweeted: "'my BlackBerry' trending ought to be good news for BlackBerry in these techie days. But it's not. My BlackBerry in blackout mode. Sort pls."

The services have reportedly been out since around 11am BST, but RIM stayed silent for some time on the problems, despite the many reports and tweets. Shortly before publication, the BlackBerryHelp and UK BlackBerry Twitter feeds said "Some users in EMEA are experiencing issues. We're investigating, and we apologise for any inconvenience". This statement was then retweeted by RIM's official BlackBerry feed.

BlackBerry UK was unavailable for comment at the time of publication. ®

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