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BlackBerry service hit by second outage in a week

RIM confirms problems but offers no additional information

An outage hit BlackBerry smartphone service in the Americas last night, operator Research In Motion confirmed. The outage is the second to affect users in less than a week.

"Some BlackBerry customers in the Americas are currently experiencing delays in message delivery," the company said in a statement. "Our technical teams are actively working to resolve this issue for those impacted. We apologize for any inconvenience."

Hundreds of messages are hitting social-network services like Twitter every few minutes from users experiencing problems. The volume indicates the problems are widespread and affecting users on several carriers.

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The support line and RIM's Internet-based support forums offered no additional information on how long the outage is expected to last.

E-mail service was disrupted last week when some users were unable to receive messages for several hours on Thursday morning. The cause of the problem has not yet been revealed. Before that the last wide-scale outage occurred in February 2008 when a software upgrade at RIM took service out for several hours.

At the end of November RIM had about 36 million customers on the BlackBerry service. The company doesn't break down subscribers by region but just under two-thirds of the US$3.9 billion it recorded in revenue during the third quarter came from the U.S. and Canada where the outage is centered.

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