An outage that impacted non-corporate BlackBerry e-mail services, apparently on multiple wireless carriers, was in the process of being rectified Thursday afternoon, according to Verizon Wireless, Sprint Nextel, and BlackBerry maker Research in Motion. The outage didn't affect corporate e-mail, Internet access, or voice services, according to Sprint spokesperson Crystal Davis.

The problem, she said, probably occurred overnight. "Apparently, there was some maintenance last night," she said. "Starting around 2 A.M. central time we became aware of some issues being experienced on our e-mail service for general customers. General e-mail, and even Gmail or AOL mail [if routed through Blackberry] experienced problems."

Davis said it's too early to say precisely what the problem was. There are early indications, however, that it happened during routine maintenance. "They were trying to reboot the system Relevant Products/Services after some maintenance and something went wrong," she said. "It could be a number of factors. These things happen."

The problem was on the way to resolution by early afternoon. "I'm hearing from our network Relevant Products/Services people that it looks like it is about 75 percent done," Davis said. "E-mails in the queue are starting to patch through. The issue is slowly but surely being resolved."

That assessment was shared by Verizon spokesperson Debra Lewis. "We knew of the issue and worked [with RIM] to help resolve it. I believe services are restored to our customers."

RIM didn't make a spokesperson available, but issued a statement via e-mail: "RIM has isolated and resolved the issue that was impacting some BlackBerry customers earlier this morning. Some customers may still experience delays as e-mail queues are processed. RIM is continuing to investigate the cause of the issue and apologizes for any inconvenience."