BlackBerry Problems Reported: Services Down In Europe, Middle East, Africa

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BLACKBERRY PROBLEMS REPORTED SERVICE DOWN
AP

LONDON — The maker of BlackBerry said Monday that email services have been restored on many of its smartphones, after an unexplained glitch cut off Internet and messaging services for large numbers of users across Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

However, Research in Motion Ltd. said that some customers may continue to experience delays with instant messaging and browsing services.

"Our technical teams are working to return services to normal operation as quickly as possible," the company said in a statement. "We apologize to our customers for any inconvenience, and we will continue to provide updates as new information becomes available."

The problems first appeared to crop up at about 1000 GMT (6 a.m. EDT). RIM did not give an explanation for the glitch, but some telecommunications companies in the Middle East and Europe laid the blame at the Canadian company's door.

Khaled Hegazy, Vodafone Egypt's spokesman, said "there is a problem with the servers in Canada which is affecting service" in the region.

The extent of the outage wasn't clear. Vodafone UK said that customers across Britain appeared to be unable to access BlackBerry Messenger, a free-to-use instant messaging program which has helped make the handset popular with young people.

Across the affected regions, BlackBerry Internet access appeared to be sporadic. Some users were able to send and receive messages, while others using the same service provider couldn't.

Among the companies reporting problems were Qtel Qatar, Etisalat in the United Arab Emirates, Dubai-based Du, Zain Kuwait, and the Bahrain Telecommunications Co.

The outage occurred as RIM's co-CEO Jim Balsillie and other executives were in Dubai for the annual GITEX electronics show. Balsillie earlier in the day unveiled a new service at the show that will soon let users of some of its latest BlackBerry phones share documents, web links and other information with others by tapping their smartphones together.

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Business Writers Tarek El-Tablawy in Cairo and Adam Schreck in Dubai contributed to this report.

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