Extensive delays and disruptions for BlackBerry users entered into the third consecutive day as reports filtered in of fresh problems surfacing in Asian markets.  According to a Wall Street Journal report, affected countries include Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore and India.

The first hint of problem arose on Monday, when disruptions to the BlackBerry service and delays of up to several hours were experienced across Europe, the Middle East, Africa and India.  The disruptions were originally declared as fixed on Tuesday morning but hiccups resurfaced by lunchtime.  The problems had also apparently spread to Brazil, Chile and Argentina.

RIM has more than 70 million subscribers around the globe, which it serves via centralized servers hooked up to a proprietary network with mobile operators.  The technical issues are related to the servers that it operates.

Earlier statements released RIM failed to shed much light on the problem.  A new statement from the beleaguered company pinned the blame to a core switch failure within RIM's infrastructure. "Although the system is designed to failover to a back-up switch, the failover did not function as previously tested. As a result, a large backlog of data was generated and we are now working to clear that backlog and restore normal service as quickly as possible. We apologize for any inconvenience and we will continue to keep you informed."

Ironically, the latest bout of bad news for Canadian phone maker RIM arose in the same week that the new Apple iPhone 4S is scheduled to debut in the U.S., Canada, Australia, United Kingdom, France, Germany and Japan. 

Moreover, the new version of iOS 5 is also due to be released on Wednesday. Among other features, iOS 5 comes with the free iCloud cloud service that offers more capabilities than the non-business variant of the BlackBerry service.  In addition, iOS 5 also comes with a brand new messaging service called iMessenger that competes directly with RIM's own BlackBerry Messenger chat platform.

Personally, I've not experienced any problems past two days with my BlackBerry smartphone in Singapore.  Given that disruptions have a direct impact on BlackBerry smartphone's core competencies such as emails, messaging and browsing, it is easy to envisage the frustration that any prolonged disruption will trigger.