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Etisalat, du to compensate BlackBerry users

BlackBerry customers to get refunds after outage

Etisalat, du to compensate BlackBerry users
Users will receive compensation for RIM's service outage.

UAE telcos Etisalat and du said Wednesday they would compensate BlackBerry customers after a technical failure caused the outage of email, messaging and browsing services.

Twitter users across the Middle East on Wednesday reported disruptions or complete outages of services on their smartphones, as outages entered their third day.

"Prepaid customers will receive the equivalent of three days usage, free-of-charge and credited to their account within 24 hours, while for postpaid (contract) customers, this will be adjusted in their monthly bill," Etisalat said in an emailed statement.

Rival telco du said individual BlackBerry subscribers on prepaid contracts would receive the equivalent of three days' free usage, or AED4.5. Users on post-paid contracts would receive AED3. Subscribers to du's ‘Unlimited' national package will receive AED13, while those using the international package will be refunded double the amount at AED26.

Postpaid customers will have the credit added to their next bill and prepaid users will have the credit added to their balance over the next three days, the telco said in an emailed statement.

Research in Motion, the Canadian maker of BlackBerry, has blamed a core switch failure for causing a large backlog of data and has said it is working to restore normal service.

Analysts said Wednesday that RIM may face an uphill struggle to regain consumer confidence as service disruptions continue.

"If it had been a brief problem that had been resolved then perhaps people would see it as a one-off incident, however, I think it's getting a bit beyond that now because it has dragged on into the third day," telecoms analyst Matthew Reed at Dubai-based Informa told Arabian Business.

RIM on Monday said its business in the Middle East had grown 140% in the last 12 months and said it planned to expand its presence in Lebanon, Jordan and Pakistan.

The BlackBerry device has been the subject of numerous threatened suspensions across the world, as governments seek to access its encrypted email and messaging devices.

The UAE last year threatened to suspend BlackBerry services, after authorities said the encryption technology didn't comply with national security laws allowing access to data traffic.

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