Network Interruption Cause of BlackBerry Outage

Service delays on BlackBerry devices lasted for more than 15 hours.

A network interruption caused wireless e-mail customers across the country to experience service interruptions on their BlackBerry devices on Thursday.

Several customers experienced long delays in receiving e-mail on their devices, and several others found that the e-mail they sent from their pagers was returned to them. Research in Motion Ltd., in Waterloo, Ontario, makes the BlackBerry devices and server software.

RIM officials said that the problem was on the service end but could not say how many customers were affected. A notice on RIMs Web site for BlackBerry customers said that the service interruption lasted from 10:10 a.m. EST to 1:40 a.m. the following morning. It affected only U.S. customers on the Mobitex network, which is owned and operated by Cingular Wireless. RIM runs wireless e-mail services on both Mobitex and G PRS (General Packet Radio Service) networks from Cingular as well as various other high-speed carrier networks .

Officials at Cingular in Atlanta acknowleged a problem with the BlackBerry network but added that the service affected only BlackBerry customers; other services running on Mobitex had no problems. RIM advised Cingular of the problem at 5:15 p.m. on Thursday, officials said. At that point a backup node took over the service operation while the two companies worked to restore the gateways. Service seemed to be running normally by 10:30 p.m., officials said, but network congestion caused a delivery backup into Friday. RIM has added additional nodes to speed up the return to normal service levels, officials said.

(Editors Note: This story was updated to include details about the cause of the service interruptions.)