LOYAL READERS WILL RECALL THAT SOME MONTHS AGO–I CAN’T remember exactly when, and I can’t be bothered looking it up–we reported on a Chinese gentleman who had paid the equivalent of US$1.1 million for a cellphone number. The number 135 8585 8585, when pronounced, sounds much like the Chinese expression “let me be rich, be rich, be rich.” And apparently, the man didn’t feel like having US$1 million to throw away on a cellphone number is quite rich enough.

Which makes this report out of Bahrain sound relatively–but only relatively–sensible. Abdullah al-Hammadi is selling the mobile phone number 9111119 for the bargain basement price of 5,000 dinars, or about US$13,000, AFP reports.

The nuances of the story are quite different, though. The value of the number is based entirely on aesthetics–it looks “eye-catching,” Hammadi says. And the market for numbers seems more widespread in Bahrain, where apparently it’s not uncommon for people to pay $16,000 for a pleasing licence plate number. It’s a big enough market, in fact, that it’s what Hammadi does for a living. He once sold a licence plate for US$74,000. His biggest score on a cellphone number to date is about US$7,000.

COPYRIGHT 2004 Transcontinental Media IT Business Group

COPYRIGHT 2004 Gale Group