Troubleshooting BlackBerry data issues

BlackBerry SOS
By Adam Zeis on 27 Jul 2012 01:39 pm EDT

Having data issues on your BlackBerry? We take a look at some common issues and how to fix them.

One of the common problems BlackBerry users face is data issues. The issues can be caused by various things in either the RIM or carrier network, and they usually hinder your device in some way. Data issues ranges from not being able to send/receive email to no BBM to no signal. When these things occur it's really hard to pin down just what the cause is, but with a few steps you can troubleshoot some common data issues on your own and most times be back up and running on your own (or at least get a better idea of the issue). Keep reading and we'll check out some common issues and their fixes.

Troubleshooting Common BlackBerry Data Issues

Here we'll look at the most common issues that BlackBerry users face regarding data. 

First things first. If you're having data issues, make sure you're actually in an area with good coverage and your device radio is on (Mobile Network is active). Often times we think that our data is crapping out, but in reality it's just a bad service area. Also make sure you have an active data plan for your device that includes BlackBerry service.


The old standby - reboot. The first thing I do when I'm having data issues is reboot, or at the very least, cycle my connections (you can also do a battery pull). This ensures that everything is working as it should and 9 times out of 10 it will fix whatever issue you're having.

Verify Network Settings

BlackBerry Network Settings

Check to make sure your network settings are properly set up. To do this, go to Options > Networks and Connections > Mobile Network. Make sure Data Services are on and the proper network is selected. If you are connected to wifi, verify that your wifi network is working properly as well (or just turn wifi off to check for other issues).

Register with the network

Register BlackBerry

To verify that you're connected to the network and everything is working, go to Options > Device > Advanced System Settings > Host Routing Table. Press the Menu key and choose Register Now. If you get a BlackBerry registration message on your device, everything with the network should be working properly. If you don't get a message, there is an issue somewhere along the line with your carrier and/or RIM. At that point you'll just have to wait it out or call customer service for more help.

Send a Test Message

Often times you can pinpoint a specific issue by sending yourself a message. Using an email address not associated with your device, send a message to an email address registered on your BlackBerry (or have a friend send one). If you receive it, your email is obviously working. If not, there are network issues, delays or another issue you'll need to try and resolve. You can do the same test by sending yourself a BlackBerry PIN message as well.

Send Service Books

To verify that you have all the service books you need and that everything is working fine and dandy, you'll want to resend your service books. Thankfully you can do this right from your device - gone are the days of hunting around for your carrier's BIS site. 

BlackBerry Service Books

To send your service books, go to the Email Setup icon on your device or when in the Messages app, press Menu, choose Options and select Email Account Management. Once it opens, press the Menu key again and choose Service Books then Send Service Books. You should receive activation emails for all of your registered email addresses on your device. If not, verify that you have properly set up your email accounts or check with your carrier for more help.

If all else fails, blame your carrier

Some issues are beyond the control of what you can do on your device,so you'll unfortunately have to contact your carrier. Things like unpaid bills, wrong service plans, carrier outages, latency issues and BIS errors can all contribute to data issues on your particular device. Call your customer service and they can either help you out or tell you more about any known issues.

What are some other issues and solutions you've come across? Let us know in the comments.

For more help and discussion on this and other issues, check out more in the CrackBerry Forums.

Adam Zeis Adam Zeis "Mobile Nations Content Strategist" 3740 (articles) 2892 (forum posts)

Reader comments

Troubleshooting BlackBerry data issues


I've got a personal Bold 9700 and an iphone4 from work, and I have to say, the iphone never suffers from this issue. It's quite annoying spending the time to go through these steps to get service back up and running on the blackberry. I hope this gets fixed with BB10 and the new hardware - I need all the ammunition I can get to convince our company CTO to move back to blackberry devices.

During one week I had to wipe my device a bunch of times. It's usually after I've installed an update to an app. That's another issue that hope goes the way of the dodo with BB10. Good luck to you though.

I have to agree! As a 9900 user I am consistantly running into issues and my colleagues that have an iPhone or Android, never seem to be at a loss.

It's frustrating that daily I have 1-3 pulls and clock freezes or something else -- unexplained freezes that stop me working.

I really want to hope these will be addressed as my ability to do work is affected by these issues.

I have tried everything the article suggests, and I still have the same issues.

gud luck and the 9700 gets that alot my sister has one and it gets no signal well it does but its gone in 3 seconds i reinstalled OS 6 after i dissembled it and put it back together.
she did say that in OS 5 it was ok maybe you can downgrade the OS to 5? see if it gets better

Of course your iPhone won't have these problems when Apple uses Microsoft azure data severs. When all fails Apple doesn't depend on its own tech.

Well, you've demonstrated your ignorance of mobile communications with this statement. There is no reliance on "Microsoft Azure Data Servers" when using an iphone or android, the devices communicate directly with internet destinations whether for email, collaboration, or web browsing without any dependency on intermediary servers.

Only RIM clings to the proxy model for communications. This model is arguably more secure than direct communications, but in the last twelve months especially it has been less reliable. For the vast majority of business and personal applications, it's an unnecessary model that serves one purpose: to keep RIM's services model profitable.

Wipe, reload only the essentuals after you made a selective backup. That should solve your problem. Lots of cluttered db's need cleaning out. I do this every second month, or every second OS update.


past 2 weeks the phone has been freezing like crazy and battery dying rapidly...
-uninstalled all apps...
-flashed the phone....
still freezes...

I noticed as soon as I disconnect the network radio, the phone comes back to life.
I called Rogers, there solution was switch the phone to 2G..after the switch I wasn't getting any incoming calls. I replaced the old settings and still had the same issue.

I called back to troubleshoot with rogers and they reset the network connections to my phone but still couldn't fix my issue. My last option was to put a new SIM card in the phone.

Since the sim switch all is working good. I will have to test for the next few days... all in all rogers network has been CRAP this past year...

I had the SOS issue for a week on and off. Would pull the batt remove sim reinsert which would fix sometimes and other times it took 5 or so tried before it worked.I got fed up and switched my SIM card, everythings fine now. The rogers tech gave me a constipated look when I simply went in and asked for a sim card cuz I'm getting SOS. He looked at my phone and saw SOS immediately he wanted me to follow his trouble shooting, I objected and told him he'd be wasting both of our time as I have already done everything he would suggest minus reloading the OS. I told him not only am I a heavy blackberry die hard and have been using berries for many years but I also provided tech support for SMB and their blackberry infrastructure. He looked @ me all crooked like and still thought I was wacko for wanting a new sim...he argued I needed a new phone etc....well sure enough the new sim fixed the SOS issue and the rogers tech hopefully learned a little something. It has been my professional experience that if a single device is experiencing SOS where other devices on the same network have signal then 9 times out of 10 its the sim card. Funny too because a day or two after my buddy had the same issue...he thought it was his 9700 and switched back to his 8900 with a broken trackpad lol. Suggested it was the sim card, so he got a new one and problem solved. Thought the coinsidence was a little

My biggest gripe on my 9900 and previous 9000 is when replying to an email it seems to go through but then the red X comes up and I have to resend. Very frustrating and I don't know who's to blame.

Also, delete Blackberry Internet Service 2. Sometimes that is a factor for no data or lack of data when you actually have a data plan.

I had to remove it a few times to fix what I thought was an outage.

Also, reload the OS, but ONLY restore the essentuals. Uncheck everything else but contacts (addressbook), calendar, messages (only if you have a carrier hosted address), memopad, bis data, bbm settings/contacts/groups, browser settings/bookmarks, options, icon arrangement and theme settings.

You'll find you have a smoother, more stable and faster performing device.

For me, it works to just turning off mobile network, leave it for 1 to 3 minutes then turn it on again. Reboot takes much battery energy, so I don't do it often.

i read in a blog that the correct way to set the APN is by ticking the APN Setings Enabled on, and use APN: but leave the APN Authentication, username &password for APN blank. that way it will always use BIS/BES and not normal gprs (which won't cost you any more than what you already paid for BIS/BES plan). the downside is, if you're at an area that the signal is bad you may get lots of loss connection/SOS (or whatever the right technical term lol).

"If all else fails, blame your carrier"
at my place that is the cause of repetitious SOS since februari/march this year. not only me, it happens nationwide on almost all big carriers here lol. it seems the carriers here are battling over leftover 3G canals the government want to giveaway before opening the 4G/LTE. and they are desperately trying to convince the government that they need those leftover 3G canals the most, by saying their network is the most crowded of all. and since carriers here are serving their customers on shared network/connection, if at a place there's a lot of people using data on their mobile (or BIS/BES on blackberry), most likely many people will suffer lots of SOS, especially those that's far from the cell towers.
imagine what will happen if you're at a place where lots of people are using data on their mobile (logging in to fb/tweeting heavily) while the carrier says that their network is already crowded. you bet you will have lots of SOS.

by the way just out of curiousity, how many OS7 bb owners here still have to do battery pulls?

Thanks very much for this useful post, but I have some points to share:

For the past months I've been flashing my device with the new 7.1 OS that RIM have been developing. As we all know the new OS brings enhancements such as snappier web browsing, less crashing & slowdown & better battery life.

Unfortunately since version (Bundle 1997 for AT&T) I have been unable to continue updating appropriately. I follow every single step using app loader, but when the installation goes trough for some reason the device is not registering on the wireless network (the four blackberry white dots never appears beside the 4G logo), even tough I have full wireless signal for calls, I cannot use my BBM.

I have studied the case & I know it have to do with the HRT (Host Routing Table), unfortunately when flashing the newest builds I have tried tons of times re sending the HRT manually, but the device does not register. Also I have called the carrier (Digicel Panama), & they even have resent the service books, but the new software wont register either.

It is kind of weird because every single build until 1997 worked flawlessly, but after this no other one works. when I go to the RIM software download page I see that for Digicel Panama they have the (Bundle 1647) as their latest, but this is not an issue because I'm running AT&T Bundle 1997 which is many steps above.

I have done battery pulls, manual resets, everything & the new OS simply wont register the device to the network.

The current Official OS that have not work are: 2039) 2102) 2218)

I know it have to be an issue with the Carrier because I recently flashed OS 2102) on my Wife 9360 for the CLARO Carrier W\O any issues.

I remember sometime ago the IT guy at my job explaining me that it have to do with the vendor file of the carrier.

I know there is something wrong because it's weird that other people worldwide are able to flash their OS without any issues & I'm struggling with the latest releases. Proof of that is that my wife is on a different Carrier & every new OS that comes out is flashed W\O any problems.

I guess I will need to stick to Bundle 1997 until my contract finishes, then unlock this phone & register it with the CLARO network or until I get my new Blackberry 10 L device.

This could well be a vendor issue. I have personal experience with a vendor in the US which blocked the release of an update to a perfectly usable device in order to sell the next model hardware. Some other vendors overseas block the installation of the BIS Enterprise Activation app (likely to enhance their revenue from the customer).

Happy 2013