BlackBerry setup on Virgin Mobile

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”

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


27 thoughts on “BlackBerry setup on Virgin Mobile

  1. Chrisf

    Thank you very much. Followed your instructions – very easy, even for me!! Whole process only took 15 minutes, including waiting for original text back. Up and running at last!!

  2. Iain

    Thank you, thank you! Took me two days of frustration trying to get my wife’s BB Curve set up before I found your post. I agree that Virgin really need to get their act together! Again, many thanks. Iain

  3. Julian

    Thanks so much! Finally got my girlfriend’s Blackberry working.

    Still scratching my head about how to set the outgoing email settings like “From:” and “Reply to:” for example!

  4. Mike

    Hey I am currently trying to do this, but I cannot find the IMEI number under the status button or under the battery, or on the box. How can I find this elusive number???

  5. Rob

    Thanks for this – I can’t believe operators make it so hard. I’ve been trying to get it to work on a new Three UK internet sim for a week with not much help from their customer services or technical support, but finding this yesterday meant that this morning when I tried it, it worked well within the timescale you state – maybe I’ll be sticking with Virgin after all!

    Cheers again.

  6. Lynn

    The most useful information I have read in a long time, way better than the so called ‘instruction’ manual. You have saved me considerable hassle. Many thanks

  7. dave+vicky

    Thank you so much! Trawled for hours on the forums with no success til I found you. My daughter is leaping around the room with 9300 in hand! If she’s happy-I’m happy! Thanks again,Dave. Daughter wants to marry you! lol!.

    1. Mike Oldfield Post author

      Glad to have been able to help so many people. I honestly didn’t think there would be this many people with the same issues! Just goes to show how useful the provided info from Virgin is…

      I now have a BlackBerry Torch 9800 on O2, and it took 5 minutes to be setup fully from turning it on for the first time. I think I’ll safely be avoiding Virgin for a while 🙂

  8. Sean

    Thanks for this, but actuall have a bes at work and can’t get it activated.Does anyone know if it will work with bes (it would be funny if it didn’t since that is the only initial option. If not I can settle for Bis.

  9. Iain

    Thanks for this info – a great help. Spent a few hours on google lookin for this. I made two calls to Virgin mobile help desk on this mattter on a Uk number – did not know what I talking about.
    Totally agree Virgin need to improve their act on this one.
    Thanks again

  10. Kelsey Bains

    Mike, this is exactly the same thing i went through for 2 hours yesterday. It’s an absoloute pain that virgin media can’t put ‘text yes to 789333’ on the documents and letters they give you. It’s not that hard surely? That would just make life easier for everyone else, instead of you running around like a headless chicken thinking you have broken your brand new, sealed blackberry before you have even started using it. If only i found your blog earlier. :((
    Well at least i know now that i was not alone in this crisis. I’m in the right frame of mind to contact virgin media and ask them if they have now had the sense to do what everyone thinks they should do.

  11. lala

    I have been rummaging around trying to sort this and I truly think virgin should employ you! After reading your brief, detailed explanation I’ve managed to set up my phone. That is after 5 hours of wandering around virgins website and even holding for 22 minutes on customer services. Thank you x

    1. Steve Grigg

      Got new BB for myu wife.

      Got the phone, sms and wi-fi working (after virgin had locked the account for credit reasons within minutes of us leaving the shop!!)

      E-mail is proving elusive so far. Got my blackberry from virgin a year ago and set up wes trouble free. This BB is causing problems.

      Tried to:
      a) txt Yes to 789333 – failed sms ! (although txt messaging is working)
      b) register via web PIN and IMEI – says I’ve got to go to Host Routing Table
      c) go to host routing table and says registration sent – but still doesn’t work after 7 hours (am I being impatient?)
      d) call 789 and put on hold for technical guys for over 4 hours before being cut off (argghh!!
      e) call 789 again told to be patient as technical guys very busy (clearly for 4 hour !!). Then told they couldn’t do anything but will call back.

      I think Virgin Mobile customer service is the most incompetent ever, but what do you think ??

  12. Martin

    Great article – thanks. Unfortunately all I get from my BB when I text 789333 is ‘network out of order’.

  13. marina

    oh my days what a livesaver you have been! if only you worked for virgin! i finally have bbm, its driven me mad! thank you trillions xxx

  14. Marthinette

    Good day!
    I also have Virgin mobile but in South Africa. I have a BB Curve and now Virgin mobile say they don’t support BIS and don’t know when they will be able too. They do have blackberries but you must buy the phone from them with the settings. They don’t have the settings itself.
    Do you know any way, if possible to get the settings? I really need to get the settings as I have family oversea and want to correspond with them.

    Kind regards, and thanks for your help.


  15. Shirley Williams

    I cannot believe there is no information sent with the Blackberry to tell you how to get up and running. Numerous phone calls to Virgin and attempts later I am still not able to e-mail or use the internet. When I try to text ‘YES’ to 789333 as directed, it fails very time. I was talked through this ad nauseum by a chap from Virgin who thought I was daft – we got nowhere. What a time waster and so so frustrating!!

  16. odivipds

    Thank you for your help, but when I text ‘yes’ to 798333 it says ‘network out of order’ any ideas on how to fix this? :/

  17. noma

    Plz help me out want to able to read nd receive e mail on ma blackberry.I’ve manage to create an e mail account frm gmail bt de problem nw is to do enhencmnt plug .

  18. vickie

    Can anyone help me please. I set up a email address on my old blackberry, the email is I set This up on the email icon. I am no longer using the blackberry but I can not acsess that email account. Both virgin media and blackberry login sites say the email address does not exist.


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