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RIM: BlackBerry BBM back 'before the weekend'

Blackberry's BBM messaging and BIS services may take until the weekend to fix, says Anthony Payne RIM's Director of Platform Marketing in an interview from London's BlackBerry Innovation Forum revealing the background to the outage.

In an interview with our friends at OneMobileRing, the spokesman confirmed that the outage, which began on Monday and affected the whole of the EMEA region, had been caused by a core switch failure in an undisclosed data centre.

The failed switch resulted in loss of email, web browsing and BlackBerry Message services to Research In Motion handsets in Europe, the Middle East, Africa and India, with some carriers in South America also being affected.

Payne said the outage was a "significant impact for a lot of their customers". He "doesn't underestimate the scale of importance", branding it "the most serious incident in 18 months," since he joined the company.

All BlackBerry users in the regions above were affected, but not all were subject to a complete blackout. Some received one service or the other. Standard voice calls and SMS messages were unaffected, Payne said told OneMobileRing.

RIM's UK managing director, Stephen Bates, earlier issued an apology to BlackBerry users from the stage at the Innovation Forum.

Payne said that RIM was "not communicating the details of the [lost] messages, whilst analysis is going ahead", but would "make public as soon as possible" the reasons for the failure, and explain what had happened to the lost data. Payne reassured users that the service was "still secure, with no impact and no change from security perspectives"

BBM resumed briefly on Tuesday morning after RIM thought it had identified the issue, but when customer traffic began again on Tuesday night, the service "wasn't behaving in the way they expected" said Payne, and the service was brought back down again.

He said RIM was "going to learn from these mistakes, with post-event diagnostics and analysis, with a view that something of this nature doesn't happen again".

Payne said he hoped full service would be back "before the weekend", but added that he "can't offer any commitments or guarantees because it is important not to underestimate the complexity and scale of the service".