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BlackBerry Messenger down again, BIS follows

In what is rapidly turning into a comedy of errors, Research In Motion's BlackBerry Internet Server and BlackBerry Messenger services are once again out for the count.

The latest outage follows a 24-hour period of downtime across Europe, the Middle East and Africa which saw millions of BlackBerry users unable to use their much-vaunted communications device as anything other than a basic feature phone.

Despite being allegedly repaired this morning, the unexplained problem is back: we're receiving reports of users failing to receive email notifications - part of the BIS service - and unable to access the Messenger service - part of BBM - as of this afternoon.

Thus far, Research In Motion is silent on the outage, but is thought to be working hard to restore faith in its once-unassailable messaging platform.

It's something it's going to have to work at: with BlackBerry hardware languishing behind the latest all-singing all-dancing devices for Android, iOS, and Windows Phone, the BIS and BBM platforms are all that Research In Motion has going for it.

With those services performing poorly, users are likely to jump ship - as comments on our original report confirm.

UPDATE 1334:

Reports are coming in that email notifications are working intermittently, while BlackBerry Messenger and social media services are completely down. Others suggest that access is possible while the device is connected via Wi-Fi, but not via 2G or 3G data connections. Research In Motion has still not responded to our request for comment on this latest outage.

UPDATE 1346:

T-Mobile's UK arm has spoken out about this most recent downtime, confirming a "European-wide outage on the BlackBerry network run by BlackBerry’s manufacturer RIM, which is affecting all mobile operators." However, reports on social networking services suggest that the outage is significantly wider than that, with users as far afield as South Africa reporting issues.

UPDATE 0900:

Research In Motion has finally spoken out, blaming the extended outage on a failed central switch plus an inadequate failover system - the back-up switch designed to kick in should the central switch fail - which did not perform as tested when push came to shove.