Research In Motion (RIM) is offering few details about two major outages in a week with its popular BlackBerry service, which delivers e-mail...

Share story

NEW YORK — Research In Motion (RIM) is offering few details about two major outages in a week with its popular BlackBerry service, which delivers e-mail to wireless devices favored by many executives.

RIM, which makes the pioneering mobile devices and provides the e-mail service over cellular networks, attributed a June 17 outage lasting nearly four hours to a software upgrade “that did not operate consistent with prior testing.”

The Canadian company said a second North American outage on Wednesday was the result of an unrelated “hardware failure.”

RIM declined to elaborate on the number of customers affected or the nature of the software and hardware involved, and also seemed to dispute the magnitude and length of last week’s disruption.

Most Read Stories

Unlimited Digital Access. $1 for 4 weeks.

Cellular carriers Cingular Wireless and T-Mobile said on June 17 that service for all of their BlackBerry users — at least 1 million people, but probably many more — was down nationwide nearly four hours.

Cingular and T-Mobile operate networks based on the same wireless technology. By contrast, there was no outage for BlackBerry users on the networks run by Sprint and Verizon Wireless, which use a different technology. Nextel Communications, which reported scattered disruptions for its BlackBerry users, uses a third technology.

Service outages have been extremely rare for BlackBerry, and none in memory have been as severe and lengthy as last week’s disruption.

RIM said yesterday the two outages were not a sign that the growing popularity of the service might be straining its systems. The number of Blackberry users grew to 2.5 million by the end of March, up from about 1 million a year earlier.