BlackBerries cut off as Internet e-mail outage continues

Research in Motion earlier today confirmed that some North American BlackBerry users may be experiencing e-mail delays.

The statement, reported briefly by Reuters, says phone service, Web browsing, and "PIN-to-PIN" messaging are not affected. RIMs technical teams are working to fix the problem, which began earlier this morning.

Update: At about 12:45 P.M. ET, some users on Twitter said their service was restored. "Hey! The #BIS outage is over and my #blackberry is being flooded with hours old email. Hooray......." reported @pickledgator, a user in Gainsville, Florida. Some reported a floods of e-mails, others like Nolla Bridges (@bLaCk_b3auTy89), in Mississippi, say it's a trickle. "#BlackBerry emails slowly coming in!!" she tweeted.

A number of early reports pinpointed the problem as being with the BlackBerry Internet Service (BIS), which is offered by various mobile carriers (such as T-Mobile), but is run by RIM. The service lets BlackBerry users access the Internet and POP3, IMAP and Outlook Web Access e-mail accounts, and have BIS push e-mails to the handheld, without going through a corporate BlackBerry Enterprise Server. Users connecting to a corporate BlackBerry server behind the company firewall apparently are experiencing problems at least with their Exchange-based e-mail.

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This was confirmed by one user, Spetnick, in a thread at the forums. Spetnick uses a BlackBerry Bold on AT&T Wireless. In one post earlier this morning he wrote: I seem to have no issues with web browsing or PIN messages. It seems that the issue is mainly BIS email. All of my email accounts are currently Gmail/Google Apps accounts. I will try a non-Google account and see if it is any better. Five minutes later, he posted this update: Nope, the new email address is not even showing up on my BB (after adding via BIS interface). I guess that confirms that no service books are coming through.

At the thread, several users reported they became aware of the problem as early as 1 a.m. or 2 a.m Eastern time on Thursday. One user in London, and another in the Barbados islands, said they also are not getting e-mail. A few users on the forum say they're fed up. "I'm switching to Android for my upgrade. I've had enough of this sh**," posted ekyle125.

Twitter is alive with complaints and outrage, but its hard to get a handle on how widespread the e-mail problem is, or how many are affected. Some users report problems with some communication modes but not others.


@tomconti reported Seems I can send to GMail from #blackberry but I cannot receive yet.

Outside Boston, BlackBerry user Alan Bonde (@abonde) tweeted on several painful hours of no email on BB :-( it's not just me But good to know its not my crappy VZ service!

But some BlackBerry users at Network World, some of them also on Verizon, say theyve had no problems with their company e-mail.

The last major BlackBerry service outage was in February 2008, when a routine upgrade to RIMs infrastructure triggered a cascade of internal problems. Millions of users at all North American wireless carriers were affected to varying degrees for 2-3 hours.

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