Technology & Science

BlackBerry outage scheduled for Sunday

BlackBerry users will be out of luck early Sunday morning as a planned outage will leave them without service for about four hours.

BlackBerry users will be out of luck early Sunday morning as a planned outage will leave them without service for about four hours.

The outage, for maintenance to the BlackBerry server infrastructure, is scheduled to start at 2 a.m. ET and last until 6 a.m. It will affect users in North America and the Asia-Pacific region.

Waterloo, Ont.-based Research In Motion Ltd. said it routinely performs such shutdowns in order to upgrade its network servers, which let BlackBerry customers check their e-mail and use other data services on the handheld devices.

The company had to deal with a major unscheduled outage in February, which took down 12 million customers for about three hours during the middle of the day.

At the time, RIM said a "data service interruption" resulted in "intermittent service delays for BlackBerry subscribers in North America" and that voice and text-messaging services had not been affected.

Major disruptions have been rare but have often provoked an angry backlash against the company because of its typically lengthy silences about the cause and because it eventually gives only cryptic, jargon-laden explanations.

When BlackBerry service suffered a major outage in April 2007, the company remained silent about the cause for two days.

After that outage, BlackBerry co-CEO Jim Balsillie said that RIM, which has grown to be one of Canada's most valuable companies on the strength of the BlackBerry, thought it was appropriate to attack the network failure first and provide more details later.