DUBAI // The makers of the BlackBerry smartphone last night announced that all services had been fully restored following the disruption that hit users over the weekend.
“On June 30 we experienced a service issue which may have affected some of our customers in certain parts of Europe, the Middle East, Africa and India,” said Sandeep Saihgal, managing director of Research In Motion (Rim) Middle East.
“This issue is now fully resolved and all services are operating as normal. We apologise to any customers in these regions who may have been inconvenienced.”
The service difficulties struck both the Etisalat and du networks, though there were no reports of voice calls being affected.
Du said in a statement on Saturday night that the disruption was caused by “technical challenges” reported by RIM. The statement continued: “We would like to inform our BlackBerry users that they might have experienced degradation in their BlackBerry services due to technical challenges as reported by RIM.
“Degradation might include delays in sending or receiving messages or using other services such as BlackBerry Messenger.
Customers 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.
“Wireless service providers and device resellers may experience delays in using BlackBerry administration websites, creating subscriber accounts, or provisioning services for subscribers.”
Du said its technical team was working with RIM to resolve the matter as soon as possible, and apologised to customers for the inconvenience caused.
Etisalat announced that its BlackBerry services had returned to normal.
The operator said in a statement: “As stated earlier by Rim, the delay was caused due to Rim’s service issues, but the BlackBerry service has now been restored.
“Etisalat apologises to its BlackBerry customers for the inconvenience caused due to disruption.”
BlackBerry user Fatma Al Bannai, an Emirati from Dubai who works in IT quality control, said: “I’ve been talking to some of my friends who have du and some who have Etisalat, and they were both down for quite a few hours yesterday. They weren’t receiving any messages on BBM and their emails were not coming in, basically the service wasn’t functioning.
“I called Etisalat and there was an automatic message saying they had been experiencing some problems. I believe it was a nationwide issue that lasted until the early hours of the morning. There was no prior warning.”
She said she was disappointed that RIM had not issued a statement earlier when the problems first emerged.
“At first I didn’t know if it was just my phone or if it was everyone else, so if they’d issued a statement we would have known that the whole country didn’t have the service.”
The disruption is the latest in a series of problems to hit RIM.
The Canadian company's share price has plummeted in the face of fierce competition from Apple and the makers of Android smartphones, and it has just announced large-scale job cuts and a delay to the launch of its BlackBerry 10 platform.
Last October BlackBerry services in the UAE went down for several days because of a massive outage that affected millions of users around the world.Some users complained about the latest disruption on Twitter.
A Dubai resident who tweets under the handle @Psyched! said: “Rim jus keeps diggin its own hole.”
@ReadMore said: “Another disruption of BlackBerry services in UAE. Which number is that? Too many disruptions to count if you ask me.”
There was no mention of the problem on RIM’s official Twitter page.
Ms Al Bannai said she was becoming a bit fed up with BlackBerry because of the problems with the network, but would not switch to another make of smartphone because all her friends used the RIM messaging network.
“I really have no choice because if I don’t have a BlackBerry, basically I’m putting an end to my social life,” she added.