BlackBerry - Troubleshooting Activation Issues


Active BES with both a wireless provider, and ITSN see: Add Hosted Services


This article will help identify and resolve potential issues preventing a BlackBerry from activating with BlackBerry Enterprise Services (BES).



1. Verify The Device Has An Active Data Plan.

An Active data plan with a mobile provider is required, BES services will not work without one.

2. Verify The Device Is Provisioned For Enterprise Services.

Please contact the wireless carrier to confirm the device is provisioned. They may have to remove and re-add Enterprise Services to the account. If the error, "Unable to authenticate. Please contact your system administrator," is encountered it indicates the device has a provisioning problem.

3. Ensure BlackBerry Software Is Current

Legacy software may contain bugs that prevent device activation, or irregularities during the activation. Any BlackBerrys that are running unofficial updates, or are "jailbroken," will sometimes encounter activation issues. ITSN nor RIM will support unofficial updates.

4. Check Signal Strength

On the BlackBerry, go to Tools/Options, and then select Status. The signal strength will be displayed here. If the numbers fluctuate radically, or are outside of -40 and -98 DbM, move to an area with better reception. Also take note of the device PIN number for additional troubleshooting.

5. Examine Control Panel Information For Accuracy.

The user must have an active BES profile (see: Add BlackBerry User), not have an account that is locked out (see: Account Lockout), and have a matching device pin number displayed (if different than device delete and re-create the user, see: Remove BES User).

6. Generate A New Activation Key.

An activation password will expire after 48 hours (if set manually), regenerate a new password using these instructions: Generate A New Activation Key

7. Attempt activation with primary email address.

Split domain users should create a secondary email address using the built in domain ( Attempt to activate the BlackBerry with this address. Follow the support article on how to create an email alias, but do so for the built in domain.

8. Disable any forwarding for the user's mailbox.

Using the online control panel navigate to Hosted Organizations > (click) Organization Name > Mailboxes> User Mailbox> Mail Flow Settings (tab), in that tab disable forwarding by un-checking the box and then saving. View the support article on Mailbox Forwarding.

Email when forwarded to another mailbox, or user causes the activation email sent from the BES server to be sent to multiple locations. Those locations, in turn, reply to the activation email confusing the BES server, and then preventing activation. Forwarding may be enabled once activation has completed.

9. Remove Junk Email Filtering.

Temporarily disable junk email filtering in Outlook Web Access, Outlook, and any 3rd party spam filters. Once the filters are disabled try and activate again. See SPAM Filtering.

10. Replace The Battery On The Device.

Remove the battery from the BlackBerry for ten seconds, replace and try activation again. This is also known as a soft reset.

11. Delete Service Books On The Device.

Go to Tools/Options, then Advanced Options, select Service Books. Delete the CICAL service book, repeat step 10, and then try activation again. See: Delete Service Books

12. Wipe The BlackBerry, Reactivate.

IMPORTANT: A hard reset will return the device to original out-of-the-box condition; removing any preferences, custom settings, and third-party applications (personal information such as phone number and addresses, calendar entries, pictures... will also be erased). For instructions on performing a device wipe



What Is Next?

Delete Service Books,

How To Activate,

Wipe A BlackBerry

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