Update 12/10/11: BlackBerry users in the EMEA regions are experiencing a third day without fully functional data services.
Last night (Tuesday) at 10pm BST BlackBerry's UK twitter page offered a explanation to the collapse of their data services, blaming a core switch failure in RIM's infrastructure. However, much to the annoyance of BlackBerry users in the EMEA region, there is still no official word on how long BlackBerry will take to fix the problem and no guarantees that the problem will not reoccur in future.
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In a statement released at 10am BST today (Wednesday) BlackBerry produced a much sought after explanation as to why they were experiencing difficulties. "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."
BlackBerry revealed that the EMEA region are not the only ones suffering with messaging delays as India, Brazil, Chile and Argentina are also effected by the same core switch failure. Remarkably, it seems the millions of BlackBerry users in the effected countries are all suffering the loss of data due to a localised problem at RIM's data centre in Slough.
Microsoft Exchange consultant Simon Butler says that the reason that not all BlackBerry users are experiencing the same problems is because BlackBerry run two separate infrastructures, a BIS consumer system and a BES enterprise system. Butler says "The understanding I have is that the BIS service has crashed. The business side runs on a different set of servers, although enterprise BlackBerry's can still use messenger and the consumer services, they are also affected."
BlackBerry data services in Europe, the Middle East and Africa have ground to a halt today. The error struck BlackBerrys at 11am BST today and users of the RIM smartphone have been left with no access to their emails, instant messaging services or the internet.
RIM has yet to official state what the problem with their data services is, but BlackBerry UK has released a mini statement through their official UK Twitter account. @UK_BlackBerry which said "Some users in EMEA are experiencing issues. We're investigating, and we apologise for any inconvenience." at 14:41 today, over three and a half hours after the data services mysteriously collapsed.
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Some users of BlackBerry smartphones have been able to use some features of their smartphones such as the web browser, by connecting to a Wi-Fi network. However even when the smartphones are connected to a Wi-Fi network, the mobile devices are still unable to operate their two unique selling points; email and BBM.
The most conclusive official line about the collapse of data services has come from the UK mobile network O2 who have said "BlackBerry know about an issue with their network and are working hard to resolve it". Bahrain mobile operators Batelco have also released a similar statement that said "There is an issue with Blackberry services at present. RIM are investigating this at present."
Celebrities have taken to twitter to vent their frustration about the loss of data services on their BlackBerrys. Former Labour party king of spin Alistair Campbell said "@campbellclaret '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". While England fast bowler Stuart Broad said "Technology bamboozals me. My phone has woken up today with no interest in operating whatsoever... For all im not getting back to, Im sorry!"
This major technical issue will come as a blow to RIM who last month announced they experienced a sharp drop in profits during Q2 of this year.