Packnet Blog

Following a severe outage of their network on Monday October 10 2011, BlackBerry maker RIM was forced into what could potentially be one of the largest apologies, in volume terms, ever having been made by a phone company.

The outage, which started at 10am BST (British Summer Time), is thought to have been caused by a failure at a BlackBerry data centre, possibly in Slough in the UK.

Effecting thousands of users across the EMEA region, who were unable to access email, BBM or the internet, the company is thought to be sending personalised messages to all.

Service was eventually resumed some 20 hours later or so, though some services were brought back within 12 hours. All messages that were held up were said to have been cleared 22 hours after the service first went down, at 7am Tuesday October 11. Quite impressive considering the backlog there must have been.

Following the furore caused by the alleged use of BBM in the August riots in some parts of the UK, it is the last thing RIM needed.

Mindful of the riots, it is perhaps unsurprising that Twitter played main host for the flurry of customers venting their anger. That network providers were quick to join in as well, could be seen as very telling as to where corporate opinion in the Telecoms industry presently lies.

Whilst many technological analysts have said it is just the latest failure for the Canadian company, it was probably with some relief that most business phone systems remained largely unaffected.

Whilst some inevitably would have experienced issues, not least with contacting clients, the BlackBerry Enterprise Server which the majority of corporate customers use was not affected.

RIM have publicly said they are “very sorry”, but whilst personalised messages are still being sent, did seem to become masters of the understatement, claiming, “…some subscribers experienced delays with services.”

Callum Byrnes