The Islamic republic’s telecommunication officials have decided to auction off hundreds of catchy number sequences and use the profits to shore up the cumbersome Iranian mobile phone network, officials said Monday.
The number 0912-345-6789 is unsurprisingly topping the list of numbers on offer with a minimum starting price of 700 million rials ($76,000) when bidding starts in three weeks.
All Iranian mobile numbers start with the two digits 09.
“Out of 11 million numbers handed out to Iranians in the past 14 years, there are around 400,000 such numbers which either have been given to the ministry officials or have not been given out at all,” a ministry of communications public relations official, Masoud Fateh said.
“In a month’s time we will auction off the first 500 numbers,” he said, adding, “The base prices were figured out by a team of ministry experts.”
According to the auction advertisement in newspapers, the auction will be carried out on October 30 with judiciary officials and inspectors present.
Fateh added that the revenue generated from the auction will be used to improving the current cell phone system which is faced with mounting pressure from subscribers.
Fateh said, “The highly sought-after number (0912-345-6789) is currently held by a ministry official and since his number has been announced he has been getting between 30-40 SMS messages each day wanting to buy his number.”
He added that the messages suggested the price will rise to more than one billion rials ($108,000).
“In the past we had instances where a number was exchanged for an apartment,” he added.