Egypt BlackBerry services splutter back to life, compensation to come

Michael Gunn and agencies, Thursday 13 Oct 2011

Messaging and email services are back after three-day outage, with Egyptian mobile operators likely to announce customer compensation this weekend

After the outage, the reparations (Photo: Reuters)
Egyptian BlackBerry services spluttered back into life on Thursday after three days of outage, as mobile operators appeared ready to offer compensation to affected users.
Services also improved significantly across the rest of the Middle East, Europe, Africa and India, said Research In Motion, the Canadian company that builds BlackBerrys and handles all email and messaging traffic between them. 
"Service levels are also progressing well in the U.S., Canada and Latin America and we are seeing increased traffic throughput on most services, although there are still some delays and services levels may still vary amongst customers," RIM said in an update on its website.
The company, however, said it cannot give an estimated time for the full recovery of services around the world.
Service has partially resumed in Egypt, with messaging and email working again but some users complaining of slow and unreliable connections for internet browsing, Facebook and Twitter.
Egypt's three mobile operators are thought to be working on compensation packages for pre-paid customers affected by the outage, although they have been forthright in blaming RIM for the freeze.
The first announcement on compensations is likely to come this weekend.
In the United Arab Emirates, Etisalat -- which has a subsidiary that is one of Egypt's main operators -- said they would compensate BlackBerry users for the mishap by giving them at least three days of free service. 
A source at Mobinil told Ahram Online the company was working on "similar compensation" for Egyptians, and its competitors Etisalat and Vodafone were likely to follow suit.
Neither Etisalat nor Vodafone responded to Ahram Online's enquiries about their plans.
On Wednesday, RIM said it would eventually deliver all delayed email and instant messages to customers in five continents affected by the outage, but later told some of its corporate clients that it may not clear the huge backlog of messages until Thursday morning on the U.S. East Coast.
It apologised to customers in a statement on its Website and on its Facebook page.
The outage, the worst in about two years, adds to RIM's mounting problems, which include rising dissatisfaction with its co-chief executives and the company's inability to catch up with nimbler rivals like Apple.
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