Vodafone BlackBerry customers across Europe are suffering a major outage this morning following an infrastructure update by BlackBerry owner RIM.

Although Vodafone customers can still make calls and send texts on their phones they have been disconnected from the BlackBerry Internet Service (BIS), which means they can't get their emails, view web pages, use BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) or applications like Twitter or Facebook.

This author stopped receiving emails at 6.15am and has so far received no notification by text from Vodafone or RIM about the problem, although some Vodafone customers have received outage messages from their operator.

It is believed RIM embarked on a network update last night. Vodafone's network signals are showing  on users' devices, indicating the problem is related to the RIM network and not Vodafone's mobile network.

This is confirmed by service messages sent to a number of Vodafone customers:

*Update from RIM*

"We are currently experiencing a BlackBerry service issue impacting some users in Europe, Middle East & Africa. All relevant support teams are working to resolve the issue. We apologise to any customers who may be affected."

And: "We are currently performing emergency maintenance on our infrastructure in the Europe region. Subscribers may experience delays in sending or receiving messages or using other services such as BlackBerry Messenger.

"Subscribers may also be unable to create new accounts, add (integrate) third-party email accounts, or use BlackBerry subscriber web sites. BlackBerry Enterprise Servers may be unable to connect to the BlackBerry Infrastructure."
This last message confirms that both businesses and consumers are being affected by the outage.

In July BlackBerry users on the T-Mobile network also suffered an outage. BlackBerry users in Europe will now be hoping that today's outage is still overshadowed by the mother of all BlackBerry outages which took place last October, when worldwide BlackBerry services went down for three days.

Today's outage however couldn't come at a more embarrassing time for struggling Canadian outfit RIM, as today is when smartphone rival Apple releases the iPhone 5.