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Mobile number fetches $2.1 million at UAE auction

Despite the millions spent on the numbers, the unnamed buyer did not win ownership rights

Published: Updated:

A UAE mobile phone number consisting of seven digits of the same number fetched $2.14 million (7.88 million dirhams) in an auction earlier this week. Abu Dhabi-based newspaper The National reported.

The winner of the top number (050 777 7777) also received a special package including 22,500 free local minutes a month, and 100GB of mobile data per month, as well as other benefits.

Around 60 buyers engaged in a fierce bidding war for a total of 70 special numbers at the auction, held at two luxury hotels in the UAE’s main cities of Abu Dhabi and Dubai. The auctions were connected via a TV link so that the two groups of bidders could watch each other compete for the lots live.

No ownership

The auction raised a total of $5.45 million, with the proceeds going to charity, according to the auction’s managing director, Abdulla al-Mannaei.

Despite the millions spent on the numbers, the unnamed buyer did not win ownership rights - all phone numbers are the property of the UAE government and are controlled by the country’s telecoms regulator.

Successful bidders were pre-warned by a statement from the telecoms regulator, which stipulated that they “may withdraw from use any number that has been issued by a licensee” and “cannot guarantee that the prefix or the seven-digit number will not change in the future,” the daily reported.