Phone Number Sells for Dhs8 Million!
How much would you pay for the phone number of your choice? For one happy bidder, the answer’s quite a lot – he paid a whopping Dhs8 million for the digits 052 222 2222 at auction after a furious bidding war lasting well over an hour.
Guests couldn’t believe their ears when bids for the number 052 222 2222 rose by up to Dhs500,000 at a time at the auction, held by telecoms network Du at InterContinental Dubai Festival City hotel.
The successful bidder, Emirati businessman Mohamed Hilal, says he wouldn’t leave the number unused for fear that the whole world might call him the next day asking for a loan.“ I’m going to use the number, with pride,” he told a daily UAE newspaper, although the number was “not valid” when Ahlan! tried to call.
According to reports, the starting price was set at Dhs250,000, but when an initial bid of Dhs1 million was made, auctioneers knew they had hot property on their hands. Its final sale price was Dh8,010,000.The figure was among 70 distinctive numbers auctioned off by du at the event, many of which contained prized combinations such as 2222 and 55555. Other sale prices ranged from Dhs18,000 to Dhs700,000.
Du’s chief commercial officer, Fahad Al Hassani, said the demand for unique, memorable numbers was high nationwide.
“There is a lot of good numbers for cars, and good numbers for mobile phones,” he said.
“We have had many situations where we can’t give people the numbers they want. We decided that the most fair way to deal with that is to offer 70 distinctive numbers and allow anyone to bid on them.”
Al Hassani said the company would look closely at the popularity of the auction, and if successful, would consider hosting one every month. He said he couldn’t put his finger on why memorable numbers were so popular in the region.
“I’m sure there are advantages and disadvantages of having such a famous number,” he said. “But there are all sorts of people with all sorts of hobbies and interests.”
Successful bidders also got a smartphone worth Dhs2,750, 10gb of data and 2,500 minutes of calls. The auction, held on saturday evening, follows one by Etisalat in March, in which someone paid Dh7.87million for the phone number 050 777 7777.
A portion of the proceeds will go to UAE charities.