BlackBerry users might be finding another reason to switch to Apple, Android or Windows Phone this morning after RIM revealed that its BlackBerry messaging service and Enterprise servers are experiencing issues and have become unresponsive across the Europe, Middle East & Africa (EMEA) regions.

Update: RIM has provided TNW with a statement noting that services have been restored: Our apologies to any customers impacted by the BlackBerry service issue today. We can confirm that services have been restored and are now operating normally.

RIM admitted the fault on its BlackBerry UK Twitter feed, noting that customers in EMEA regions may experience issues with their BlackBerry service:

While RIM tweets more generally, CrackBerry reports that the issue could be as a result of some planned maintenance last night and could be primarily affecting Vodafone users, which has been confirmed by customers in the UK, Italy and Greece at the time of writing.

A commenter on CrackBerry’s article also shares a more detailed update from RIM:

We are currently performing emergency maintenance on our infrastructure in the Europe region.

Subscribers may experience delays in sending or receiving messages or using other services such as BlackBerry Messenger. Subscribers may also be unable to create new accounts, add (integrate) third-party email accounts, or use BlackBerry subscriber web sites. BlackBerry Enterprise Servers may be unable to connect to the BlackBerry Infrastructure.

Services should be restored within 2 to 2.5 hours at the most.

We will keep you updated on the situation.

RIM believes that the issue should take no more than three hours to fix, but for now a wide range of services may be unavailable to you if you are a BlackBerry user.

The timing of the outage could not be worse for RIM; the company is already struggling to retain its presence in the smartphone market in the face of increase handset sales by Apple and Samsung, and has already stated that it will launch its new BlackBerry 10 smartphones in ‘early 2013.’

Today also happens to be iPhone 5 launch day, with the new Apple smartphone going on general sale in nine countries across the world. Unable to access their BlackBerry services, some users might be tempted to enquire about the availability of the iPhone 5 and move away from the platform.

RIM will be hoping that the outage is short, particularly after experiencing sustained issues in October 2011. The outage took BlackBerrys services down for three days, leading RIM to offer free app downloads as a form of compensation.

We are monitoring the situation and will update the article once service resumes. Check back for updates as they happen.

Image Credit: Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images