BlackBerry services in Europe, the Middle East and Africa screech to a halt, UK server to blame [updated]

By Jared DiPane on 10 Oct 2011 11:54 am EDT

*UPDATE* - Looks like things are getting back to normal, and RIM sincerly appologizes to those affected.

What better time for a BlackBerry outage to hit than primetime of your daily usage, right? Well it seems that around 11am local time one of the UK BlackBerry servers went down, affecting users in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The last thing anyone really wants is an outage in the middle of the day, but RIM is well aware of it, and currently investigating. Keep your eye here for any updates as we get them!

Source: Twitter; Thanks to everyone who sent this in!

Jared DiPane Jared DiPane "News Writer for Mobile Nations
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Reader comments

BlackBerry services in Europe, the Middle East and Africa screech to a halt, UK server to blame [updated]


Since 11am? Seems much longer than that.
According to my BerryWeather, the last update was over 9 hours ago... and still no dice!

I ordered a brand spanking new BB 9900 that's now at home waiting on me to unbox. Why did this have to happen now!?

BIS has been slow and then interrupted.
BES has been affected too. Remote file failed and email with attachments wouldn't be sent. But text emails went thru with delay. BES seems to be back now. BIS still gone..
This NOC thing sucks. Why do I need the NOC when I have a BES!??..

happened smack bang in the middle of me doing a device switch to my new 9900, here's me singing RIM's praises, showing off my new BB to friends & the server goes down :(

Down 7hrs on my clock. Good thing I didn't reinstalled BBM hoping that it will fix the problem. Thanks for the info guys!

Complete outage in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. But saw the white bold 9900 at the Dubai Electronics show (GITEX), so not mad at RIM :)

still got nothing, though i can happily tether with my PlayBook (which is what I'm doing right now) would be useful if this came back up sometime bloody soon, got 3 friends and 2 family members and my girlfriend, all with BBs, across 3 carriers, and none of us can use email, BBM, BBM Music, Facebook, Twitter, Wikitude, Browser, nothing -.- the only thing that seems to work is tether, and thats only cause tethering your PlayBook means it connects over mobile internet, not BIS

Somebody's gotta fix this ASAP :/

does this affect egypt? find it funny that 14 people died in protests and the rim server goes down. most governments request rim to shut down their servers when there is a riot like issues because they cant track bbm's.

just saying, lol

My heart goes out to the BlackBerry crew that needs BIS to get work done, though I'll say this: the outage has had spectacularly bad timing. Don't like how a single server outage can cripple your phone and millions of others worldwide? Why, there's a company that doesn't have that issue planning its largest phone launch ever on Friday...

(For reference: I like the BlackBerry Bold 9900, so don't think I don't have the appreciation!)

Yes this issue is affecting Egypt and Qatar as I tested.

I think RIM had much outages this year than it's whole life! What's wrong with them.

@eve6er69 this has nothing to do with protests I don't really think our Egyptian government knows what a BlackBerry is or how it works.

Hey look at the Postive, when it does come back on you will appreciate it SO much more. RIM get it sorted im fricken dying here......

Also it made me realise that when i did a battery pull thinking it was just my phone, that i haven't had to do a battery pull in the week ive actually had the phone. I like that.

note: europe is down, but somehow i can still see updates from people in asia and they can send me bbm but i cant reply. i can see their new dp's and status, but CANT TALK TO THEM...this must be fixed

btw not sure why india is down, if other parts of asia are still functional

Still out in Poland, for about 8 hours. For a moment, until my friends confirmed also to have no BIS, I blamed myself, because yesterday I wiped and reloaded the firmware on my Bold 9000.

Unlikely its a server down. RIM has backup servers and in any case, it wouldn't take 7 hours to recover.

More likely to be a software update. Plus Vodaphone are apparently requesting people go through a specific reboot process which suggests an ID or servicebook issue.

My guess is changes for the new Playbook OS that haven't been implemented correctly in the UK.

You'll have to explain why you think that Phil.

Rumour has it the new Playbook OS will be announced at DevCon, and it requires changes to BIS.

In my experience outages tend to coincide with software updates.

Switzerland here, nothing works since 11.35 - well not that good for RIM having such troubles in providing services...

A short time outtage is okay, but a whole day - just think about the companys the whole economy and also about RIMs reliablity...

In Slovenia (CE) we are down for more than 9 hours now. SiMobil Vodafone (as our main carrier) uses UK server, so yes... it must be something with that server. Support at SiMobil Vodafone have this information for BB users here :"RIM is updating server in UK"

but what kind of update?

Damn its still not working in Qatar...why there is no back up server in anticipation of failure of main server, why does it take over 12 hrs to fix this issue? Is RIM getting unreliable?

As a Systems Administrator for a Large Public School System I can guarantee this was not the result of a single server failure. We use Blackberry for at least 7,000 - 10,000 users and have BES servers. Notice that was plural. RIM has several data centers and rest assured is competent enough to engineer their infrastructure to withstand a single server failure. These types of systems are redundant and should be. What I suspect is some sort of Core Network Hardware issue within either Waterloo's data center or the EU data center. Think switch or router for example.

8 hours downtime with Vodafone Italy, so far...
But the phone is connected to the BIS, and I can *send* emails, though not receive them...

Folks need to know that today is Canadian Thanksgiving and is a holiday here. I'm sure that most of the Canadian tech support staff were at home and not expecting this type of event.

I'm sure there's a lot of RIM folks who will not get the day off as a result.....

The price of being indispensable.

Italy - BES - Carrier TIM here

Funny how some would say the servers are not down... lol.
Whether it's due to a glitch or server update, the servers are obviously down at this time...
Hoping for a fix soon for those affected. :)

Norway - still no connection. Been out for nearly 8 hours now. Glad I'm not a VIP with tons of important mails to answer right now.

Germany/O2: I have right now BIS working (at least the icon)

wasn't aware of that issue (since social feed news over BIS ;) ) but received a few emails. (not much but I wasn't missing anything ;) ) Weather app was not working. Can't say since when BIS working again.

Not very long ago I think - perhabs as I read about it at home 30 Min. about it.

If I'm remembering it correctly I had a similar problem a few weeks ago, perhabs 2-3 days after I got my 9900. No BB-Icon or there/gone every few minutes but I still could use the browser and write/receive emails???

Not working. I thougt it was working and I received emails but now it is not working anymore. The weather app/data over BIS is not able to update since 9 hours.

I have the BB Icon now/before this was missing

BIS is still down on o2 in Czech Republic. Occasionally get one email or bbm pushed, but can't respond or do anything.

Been down all day, and my bmm stopped working and my mum was worried about me(I have to message her when I'm on the bus cause I get bullied) and this affected o2 and t mobile uk.

Excellent another 'naijan' same story with Airtel, so far we have Etisalat, MTN and Airtel all down, any glo out there?

Just got my first email in 6 hours!! I'm in the UK. Still not right though as no BBM and only received a few of the emails I have been sent.

No BIS for hours! That's just f*ing horrible. RIM, come on! I need my e-mail and BBMs. NOW!

Truly devastating! :(((((((((((((((((((

Screaming out loud from Russia.

just received an SMS from Vodafone IT that the service is down in all European Union and that is not carrier related.... and that as soon as the service will be up, they will let me know...

Etisalat, Nigeria. BIS has been down all day, what a way to spend the last day of my annual leave. *wailing*

It jus worked like for 10 minutes.. damn again went back to grave on Vodafone IN .. I received 3 emails & 2 BBM's nd thn it was gone ..

10 hours + so far in Romania, dead dead dead. Had a hope a couple of hours ago when some emails and a few tweets came in, but then it was gone again. I really don't like this, i can understand an outage, but so long for a service we pay premium is not acceptable.

This is an absolute freaking joke.......... You would think after this long some resolution would have been reached. What on earth are they doing? Sitting down twiddling their thumbs over the matter?

The service was patchy early on this morning i noticed from 6.30 am onwards here on Vodafone UK.

For most of the world to be so badly affected does seem to me to be either very unlucky or RIM have made a serious error here.

I hope, they will at least deliver all of the stuck BBMs, 'cause I've been waiting for pretty much important replies today. Praying they won't be gone for good. Fingers crossed.

Aaaah so thats's what happened! No wonder we all couldn't reach each other between all networks! Lagos Nigeria here, its almost 9pm and its still down!

If back to normal means still no service, then it is normal. Problems started 8 hours ago in UK and still there/

Still nothing in Czech Republic. I've received only few mails from today, BBM out, browsing out, It really sucks...

With the launch of iOS 5 for Apple products less than 48 hrs away which comes with iMessenger to rival BBM it's a bit of co- incidence?

yeah totally, cause we're all just gonna go out and buy a piePhone because BIS has been down for less than 24 hours...

Vodafone UK. Everything started working for me about 5 minutes ago. Hopefully for everyone else on Vodafone as well :)

Im on Vodafone UK and still not working right. I got a few emails through but it stopped again and data is just not happening.

The RIM PR team really needs to all be fired. Not a word from Vodafone a text or anything letting me know whats going on. I have to search on my PC.

Recent message I read was saying possible 24 hour down time!?

Not heard anything from o2, the lazy sods. But t mobile sent a text to my mum saying that its not there problem, and when she phoned up to deal with my sisters phone there was this on the message, well stuff like it "for people with blackberrys on t mobile and on orange, the server is down in slough is broken and this isn't our fault, things will be back up and running asap."

O2 havnt sent me anything about this, I had to look on the internet. I hope that o2 do get there arse in gear and send me an appologey soon also a discont on this months phone bill.

I've been down since about 9am and its about quater past 10 now. Not right.hope its sorted by tomoz or I'm phoneing them up!!

BIS is still down on MTN NIgeria even after the 30second battery pull occasionally one email gets pushed, but can't respond or browse.

In Poland it finally came back. About an hour ago I started to get my undelivered emails from the whole day, now everything seems to be back to normal.

It takes quite a while for each carrier to be brought back on the system.

RIM has 70 million subscribers and all will have received emails today. Amounting to a huge volume of data.

The data volumes are so high the process of restarting the system takes a while from when the problems are fixed.

The bottom line is that this represents quite staggering incompetence from RIM. Over 12 hours of failed service represents a suicide note - it is as simple as that. BlackBerry had the UK in its pocket, but no one could possibly excuse today's failure, whatever their affiliation. RIM is dead as a commercial supplier in EMEA, and I'd short the stock at $23, having until today been a buyer at the same price. Quite extraordinary. A Business School case study in the offing. Has any company ever screwed up so comprehensively?

A slight over reaction and hardly a suicide note! I certainly wont be going out to buy a different phone, and feel quite sorry for anyone who relies on there mobile phone so much that it makes them feel this strongly about this outage.

Has any company screwed up so comprehensively? Apple with their Death Grip failure on the iphone4? The Microsoft Kin? Do you want me to go on?

London, 23.17 Hrs. I am on T-Mobile UK. Email has been spasmodic all day but appears to be working now. However, BBM has been down all day and is still not working.

OK, so here's the considered commentary on today's developments:

RIM's competitive edge has been derived from its superior security, but that only matters if you can maintain your service on a full-time basis. Today has proved that RIM can't do that, and that demotes it from the group of top table players, period.

In the end, security is an add-on feature to availability. BBM is still not functional in the UK, 12 hours after the service went down; e-mail came back up a couple of hours ago. This simply doesn't meet the basic requirements of a data service in today's world. So RIM is dead. It has ceased to be.

And throughout all of this, the silence from Waterloo has been deafening.

Sorry, Kevin, but the RIMpire struck out today.

It demotes RIM from the top table players...where who remain? Which other company provides not only phones but also an un-rivaled secure network on which to use those phones? Considering I have been using blackberry for a little over 2 years now and this is (hand on heart) the first time I've had any problems with the BIS network...I dont see any cause for complaint that it has went down for a wee while today. It'll come back up so why the need to start slating a company and pronouncing them dead?

Your phone was still able to be used as a phone. You could still access your email from a PC/laptop/tablet. The only thing I have been bothered by was the lack of BBM but that isnt an integral part of my daily life and I can live without it. Surely no-one relies THAT heavily on BBM?!?

Have we all forgotten how to use a a phone? So your emails didnt come through and you couldnt BBM people, so dial their number and speak to them...or is that too retro?

If RIM are dead after this, was the same not said about Apple after the iPhone4 death grip/yellow screen scandle? Look at where they are now...

What's your job? Because there are jobs that make massive use of technology that revolves around things like the blackberry platform and you cant really make a phone call as substitute. I'm sorry to inform you that some jobs evolved from the industrial revolution.

I work in IT...and (shock horror!) no-one died and business carried on as usual despite the BIS outage.

if someone was needed urgently, people could phone our blackberry users. If they needed to email them, they emailed them and the recipient picked up their email the next time they got near a PC or could connect their laptop to Wifi/3G.

No life or death situations arose as a result of the BIS outage. And our business certainly didnt suffer because of it.

It's like saying to the people that were going bankrupted because of the flighting ban due the volcano ashes last year: come one guy use a few horses to transport your perish good after all it's been like that for millions of years! So retarded.

Sorry Dave, but your analogy is retarded. Its nothing like what you are suggesting.

if you are telling me that your business has suffered because of a BIS outage it tells me that you have a) foolishly put all of your eggs in one basket by relying soley on Blackberries and the BIS network to carry out the running of your business, and b) no business continuity plan...which is foolish in itself in this day-in-age of technology.

The analogy is correct.

A. You cant have multiple platforms for most of businesses.

B. The analogy is correct because the if the air-planes cant fly lots of business has no continuity plan but that does not mean that they are foolish in this day-in-age of technology.

Keep defending a retarder comment is retarded in itself.

Vodafone Ireland email and BBM still not working, browsing not working too...glad for the others that recovered but there are many that are still down. Seriusly cant they fix it 15 hours? Mean the whole architecture has a fault.

F*ck! This is SOOOOO ANNOYING. I could bear with 5,6,7,8 hours of broken BIS. But it's just way too much... Still no BBM... Dang it!

12 hours and still counting..
BBM Still dead here in Saudi Arabia..

I guess everyone else just blamed their service providers :P

after this outage i realize that w/out bis bb is just like an old nokia... i cant even use any normal 3g app like whatsapp or im ... i guess i'll welcome iphone 4S, anyone wanna buy my 9900?

I understand the frustration of the users in emea but a little perspective to those who claim it to be the end of the world. I work for a international company with branches accross the US, Canada and many other world destinations. Weekly I get email stating that this or that regions internet and email system is down, that we will be relying on BlackBerry service for communication. It happens all the time but with only small service providers to blame, it doesn't get the headlines. Nore does BB ever get the praise. So go ahead and jump ship because of this unbelievable incompetence and enjoy your more consistant issues.

Sorry, but I have no appologies for such a huge and long service outage. I can understand local short time problems, but not a full day and in the whole EMEA!

The first full outage I recall in quite a while. Even if it was 12 hours, that makes it 0.13% in a year.

And in the past 8 years if I doubt the total is 24 hours of service outage. Or 0.03% if you're counting.

RIM's problem is its absolutely shambolic notification system for the consumer. Though I can assure you that the carriers are informed immediately and constantly. For the companies survival they need to stop doing obeisance to the carriers in everything.

My condolences to those that had to suffer through this outage. Outages suck anytime they occur as you realize how much BB has been in your life and way you communicate.

What's annoying is the media jumping on RIM as it's a negative story and the context is skewed. There is no system that provides 100% uptime. RIM yearly is close to four 9's which only makes any outage a major pain. Apple's MobileME, Microsoft's cloud systems, Google's cloud systems have all had major and frequent outages. None get discussed on media sites. I get wireless carrier outage reports everyday for the country (US) and there are a ton of outages there as well. Outages occur.

I'm guessing this is related to BIS 4.1 upgrade but we'll see when the summary report comes out.

I was getting so worried that its either my carrier or my phone. Was stressing cause just got my 9900 on friday and thought I may have broke something. Didnnt have BIS since 10 october, then it came back around 4 on morning of 11 october, well here in SA.

Here in Belgium with provider Mobistar still no BBM possible or sometimes you see the D from delivered after a while so it is still not solved as it should be.

BES and internet are working fine.

But they should have given people at least a little more information each time they have solved a part of the problems.
A lot of people are wondering and asking what has happened and no answers?

Has this anything to do with the recent BIS 4.1 upgrade? Maybe the UK implementers missed something???

(Everything came back to normal here in Hungary by the way)

There is something wrong with the RIMs infrastructure. One server in UK is down and half of the world is without services. Thats not good and credible!

Everything's back to normal here in Russia. BTW, after this vicious outage we now have a BIS 4.1 up and running! Surprising coincidence ain't it? ;)

I cant beleive it. Its all just gone down again. Everyone in my office can not receive emails or bbm.

RIM are busy digging their own grave.

Heh, it has gone again today - not doing very well are they? After yesterday it worked fine until about 12pm local time, then gave up the ghost.

I am on MTN in Accra, Ghana, W/Africa, and internet services are still off. didn't realise how frustrating it would be without this. I am unable to twitter, facebook, use my blackberry news feeds and it is really annoying. Damn technology! anyway, i hope the technology gods will answer our prayers soon.

I was blaming Vodafone UK for several hours until I found out it was a BIS outage. I never knew how much I was addicted to my BlackBerry when I wasn't able to receive email for several hours. Withdrawal symptoms proved that I probably cannot move to any other device. For those who said they'd move to Apple because of the outage, did Apple users move from their iPhone 4 to RIM devices when the antenna problem arose? NO, a lot of them stayed loyal and waited for a software update which did arrive. There is another BIS outage, yet again in the UK and started just before 1200 GMT. Can't contact my overseas buddies!

looks like Steve jobs reached heaven and turned off Blackberry server plz turn them back on i promise i ll buy your ipods and never use windows again btw service down again on Vodafone India

Have to say, I'm not very chuffed.

Whatever happened to 'Disaster Recovery'?
Backup Plan B's....

I can't believe they have one single point of failure.

1. It's either EXTREMELY bad luck
2. A hack
3. Incompetence <-- (I think we can rule this one out)

:( still no services here. Vodacom SA has sent out sms' to there subscribers apologizing about the problems. MTN SA hasn't done with us. Shockingly my internet is working on my phone. But other services aren't working.

Am on MTN Nigeria and BIS service is gradually been restored current time 7.59pm but BBM is still down just browser functionality

This morning arround 07am central European time i saw some mails and I could send ping message with a slight delay of 30 secs to my wife's BB, internet was working too, but now at 09am all services are down again here in Belgium with Mobistar.

*UPDATE* - Looks like things are getting back to normal, and RIM sincerly appologizes to those affected.

No in Poland, still down (2,5 days now)