The BlackBerry wireless email service from Research In Motion has suffered a widespread outage starting in the US last night.

Customers on the BlackBerry Forums discussion board complained of having no service, while callers to the BlackBerry US technical support line were still greeted with the following message early Wednesday morning in the US: "We are currently experiencing a service interruption that is causing delays in sending or receiving messages. We apologise for the inconvenience and will provide updates as soon as they become available."

New York television news channel NewsChannel4 reported on Tuesday night that the problem affected "all users in the Western hemisphere." Postings to BlackBerry Forums indicated that the problem may be limited to North America, however.

"Officials with RIM said they are trying to reset the system and told NewsChannel4 that they are concerned that the backlog of data, which will rush through when it comes back on line, could cause a bigger problem," the news station reported on its website.

RIM officials advised people who use Blackberry as a major way of communications to make back-up plans, the TV station reported.

A trouble ticket from T-Mobile said customers in all markets were experiencing "intermittent issues when sending and receiving e-mail from BlackBerry devices," according to one of the forum postings. It said the problem affected all markets and all geographies.

RIM didn't immediately return calls for comment.

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(Peter Sayer in Paris contributed to this report.)