BlackBerry outage hits Europe, the Middle East, and Africa

So far, Research in Motion can't say what's happened, although some UK users were informed of problems with an infrastructure update

BlackBerry users are experiencing a service outage in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, BlackBerry maker Research In Motion (RIM) said on Friday.

"There are problems with the BlackBerry service," said Kim van Bokhoven, PR manager Benelux for RIM in an email. "This problem affects some users in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. All relevant support teams are working to resolve the issue. We apologize to any customers who may be affected."

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BlackBerry email and the BlackBerry Messenger service are both having problems, according to a steady stream of complaints on Twitter. Users of the microblogging service said that customers of mobile networks in the U.K., Germany, the Netherlands and Spain are affected by the BlackBerry outage.

BlackBerry users are also unable to communicate via the WhatsApp messaging service, mobile provider Vodafone said in a statement on its Dutch website.

Van Bokhoven could not say which BlackBerry systems are affected. "We are currently trying to figure out exactly which services are affected,' she said, adding that she hoped to have more information soon.

Computerworld UK reported that the problems were due emergency maintenance being performed by RIM, citing service messages received by customers of Vodafone U.K.

The BlackBerry outage takes place on the same day as the iPhone 5 is launched in parts of the world, prompting some Twitter users that are venting their frustration online to say that they want to trade in their BlackBerry for an iPhone.

Loek covers all things tech for the IDG News Service. Follow him on Twitter at @loekessers or email tips and comments to loek_essers@idg.com.

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