Abu Dhabi: Million-dollar phone number sells at auction

An Emirati man talks on the phone

A VIP mobile number has sold for more than two million dollars at a charity auction in Abu Dhabi, it appears.

The number, 777-7777, and its accompanying bumper package from Middle Eastern phone company Etisalat, sold for 7,877,777 dirhams ($2.1m, £1.3m), The National newspaper reports. But there is a catch. The unnamed buyer does not actually own their new memorable number, as all numbers technically belong to the government.

Instead, the winner gets a two-year phone contract for Etisalat's Diamond Plus package, which includes 22,500 phone minutes, 22,500 text messages, and 100GB of data every month. That's the same as 12 hours of calls and 725 texts each day. On the Etisalat website, the standard VIP package costs about $230 per month.

Other less desirable numbers were auctioned at the same event. The number 777-7770 went for about $340,000, and hundreds of bidders were not put off by a warning from the phone regulator days before the event, saying it had the right to change or withdraw the special numbers at any time.

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