Vodafone customers across Europe have suffered yet another BlackBerry network outage this morning.
Vodafone has confirmed there is a technical problem with the BlackBerry service - provided by BlackBerry maker RIM - which means Vodafone BlackBerry customers can make calls or text over the separate Vodafone mobile network, but cannot use BlackBerry Messaging (BBM), get their emails or access websites or use web apps like Twitter or Facebook.
The outage follows the Vodafone BlackBerry crash last September which also affected users across Europe. This author lost his BlackBerry service at 5.30am and then services slowly started to restore just before midday.
However, with the BlackBerry network having to deliver many millions of delayed emails and other data to already frustrated customers, web browsing and other services over that network are either still not working or moving at a snail's pace.
The latest major BlackBerry outage comes as BlackBerry maker RIM prepares to launch its first BlackBerry 10-based devices. The BlackBerry 10 operating system is RIM's attempt to make ground against its smartphone rivals Apple and Samsung.
If the BlackBerry network is not up to scratch, the shiniest devices in the world will not make a difference to the financial performance of the struggling loss-making company.
Last September's outage was caused by a network "infrastructure update" by RIM. Customers will be looking to see what cause is leaked out for the latest debacle, seeing as RIM isn't exactly forthcoming with official explanations for network problems.
UPDATE: The blame game
A RIM/BlackBerry spokesman suggested to ComputerworldUK.com that it was Vodafone's fault, and issued this short statement:
"All BlackBerry services are operating normally but we are aware that a wider Vodafone service issue is impacting some of our BlackBerry customers in Europe, Middle East and Africa. We are supporting Vodafone’s efforts to resolve the issue as soon as possible."
Two short Vodafone statements on the outage have also been issued on the Vodafone website.
"We are aware that some BlackBerry customers are experiencing issues. Vodafone is working closely with Research in Motion (RIM) to restore full service as soon as possible. As soon as we have further information we will provide further updates."
"Vodafone can confirm that some BlackBerry customers experienced issues with their data services this morning in Europe, Middle East and Africa. The issue was caused by a router error. Services are in the process of being restored and we continue to monitor the situation closely. We apologise to customers for any inconvenience caused and we will provide updates as necessary."
Obvious questions are: "Who's router?" and "what error?"