BlackBerry Service Crashes in Europe

BlackBerry customers on all U.K. networks and in other countries are suffering from an extensive data outage, cutting them off from e-mail, instant messaging, and web access.

The outage began for some U.K. customers before 10 a.m. local time this morning, with Vodafone customer services saying they had the problem confirmed by BlackBerry maker RIM at about 11.30 a.m. this morning. No technical details about the outage are publicly available.

Unhappy BlackBerry customers have flooded the Twitter social networking site with their complaints about the outage, with #BlackBerry now trending on the site as a result.

Vodafone UK customer services told Computerworld UK they believed the outage was affecting "80 percent of UK BlackBerry users on ALL mobile networks, not just Vodafone's."

This has not been confirmed by RIM, whose spokeswoman in the U.K. had no official comment to make on the problem as of 1.30 p.m. -- about 3.5 hours after the problem started for many.

The spokeswoman said an official statement would be made later today. The main Canada-based BlackBerry customer services Twitter account (@BlackBerryHelp) was oblivious to the outage. A posting at around 1 p.m. U.K. time said: "Hey #teamblackberry happy Monday everyone! Hope you all had a great weekend we are back to answer your questions stay tuned for answers."

There was a major BlackBerry outage in Canada and parts of Latin America last month, and the U.K. and U.S. suffered at least two BlackBerry outages last year.

Vodafone customer services were advising customers to take the following action to reboot their phones later this afternoon, if it appeared the BlackBerry service had not automatically resumed on their devices:

Take out your battery and SIM without first turning off your phone, put the battery back into your device without the SIM, and then turn on. Then put the SIM back in. If Vodafone data services were then not found, try and connect to another rival network manually (which wouldn't be successful), and then try and manually select Vodafone data services again.

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