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Last Updated: Monday, 21 June, 2004, 14:25 GMT 15:25 UK
Bahrain hot for cool phone number
Mobile phone
There is a huge market for coveted phone numbers in Bahrain
A mobile phone number in Bahrain has been put on sale for $13,200, because it has an unusual number sequence.

Abdullah al-Hammadi, who specialises in mobiles and car licence plates, told AFP news agency the number 9111119 was coveted by Bahrain's "in-crowd".

His previous record on a mobile phone sale was a relatively measly $7,000.

There is a huge market in the wealthy Gulf state for unusual mobile phone numbers and car license plates because of their value as status symbols.

Fashion statement

Mr Hammadi says he has sold more than 5,000 highly prized phone numbers since 1988 when he opened his shop. And license plates are also popular.

"One man once bought his son a licence plate for 6,000 dinars [$16,000]," he told AFP.

"Another bought one for his son just to encourage him to work hard."

Mr Hammadi said that the money can also prove useful for people who need cash quickly - even for medical treatment.

Amira al-Hussaini from Bahrain's Gulf Daily News newspaper told BBC News Online the selling of unusual mobile numbers is common in the Gulf.

"People want to show off and it's a fashion statement," she said.

"If your phone has a sequence, it shows you're wealthy and well connected with the 'in-crowd'.

"It's silly because it's just a number. But if you have the money and means and want to waste it, why not?

Country profile: Bahrain
20 Mar 04  |  Country profiles
Timeline: Bahrain
20 Mar 04  |  Country profiles

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