Well I thought it might be a good idea to share this with everyone as I found it a bit of a mission to sort out…
As you may or may not be aware, I had an HTC Touch Pro 2 which I honestly found to be a really, really bad performer. Looks great, feels great, but it has just one downside… And quite a major one too: Windows Mobile.

No matter what ROM I used, I was getting constant freezing, the apps were really crude and my most recent issue was that everytime I had to reset it because of it freezing, it would put the clock forwards an hour. I have absolutely no idea why and even a new ROM couldn’t fix that one… So it had to go… I decided that for what I would use a phone for, a BlackBerry would probably do me nicely… And after seeing a decent deal in a Virgin Media store in Maidstone town centre, I did some research and now I’m typing this very blog post on a nice and shiny BlackBerry Curve 8520 🙂

I did have a few little problems setting it up though. The BlackBerry Internet Service (BIS) being the major one… I really do think that Virgin need to really take a look at how they’re writing their documentation. Being an IT guy, I managed to track down the info as I knew what I was looking for and where to find it… But it still took Google & I about 4 hours to work it out…

In the welcome pack, I couldn’t find many details about how to set the phone up properly, so I took a look at the box which had a sleeve on it with some basic setup details to get you going.

The main thing at this point was getting my Google Mail account setup, but when I went into the Setup Wizard and selected Email Setup, I only had one option which was to use a work email address via the company’s BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES)… I don’t want to do this though! So I took a look at the quick start guide and it said: “We’ll send you a text within 24 hours to let you know that your BlackBerry services like Messenger and Mail are ready to go. All you’ll need to do is restart your phone and that’s it, you’re off.”

So with that in mind, I waited 24 hours for the text that never arrived… So off to the Virgin Mobile site I go for some help and on the page about setting up email, the first step says this: “Before you can setup email accounts on your BlackBerry, you’ll need to register your device at http://virginmedia.blackberry.com”

Does that not say something completely different to the idea that I’m going to get a text to tell me it’s ready? So I went to that site, which they very unhelpfully didn’t make a clickable hyperlink… This site turns out to be the BIS registration for Virgin customers, so I thought great, we’re going in the right direction with this one… Until it asked me for my BlackBerry’s PIN and IMEI. I found these on the status page in the options but it said my device wasn’t registered with my wireless provider. So I’m sat here thinking “is that not what I’m trying to do here?”

The error suggested I go to Options > Advanced > Host Routing Tables and select the Register Now item on the menu… So I did that and tried again and it still failed to register. Google comes out and I start reading thread after thread on the BlackBerry forums where it turned out people didn’t have a BlackBerry data plan to begin with, or they fixed it and didn’t explain how, or it was fixed by something network specific that didn’t apply to Virgin…

Eventually though, I came across a really useful thread where the starter was told what to do by Virgin Media tech support. The answer was to send a text saying “yes” to 789333. Wait 30 minutes until you get acknowledgement and then reboot the phone by doing a battery pull. If successful, the gprs logo should turn to GPRS. Nowyou can register on the BIS.

Once the BIS was setup, a few new icons magically appeared on the handset including the Email Setup options to allow me to setup my Google Mail account. 😀

So I really think Virgin need to rethink their documentation as that took me hours of figuring out to get it to work properly and that really shouldn’t be the way. It should be laid right out in front of you in plain English. I hope this has helped someone fix their activation issues. I’d love to give credit to the guy who posted these details on the BlackBerry website, but I lost the page and can’t seem to find it again 🙁

So now it’s all working, you can get me on BBM. My PIN is 2364B5CD