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Mobe number middleman turns old sims into gold

Pulls cash from the back of your drawers

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A new mobile number sales middleman has sprung up, calling itself Numbuz. The company aims to facilitate sales of memorable mobe numbers, while taking a cut for its services.

The really popular numbers, dubbed "golden", are held back by the network operators for their own key staff or promotional purposes. But that leaves millions of slightly less memorable numbers attached to SIMs, many of which are probably clogging up the bottom of drawers - a situation Numbuz aims to resolve for only a 10 per cent handling fee.

Number portability means a lot of people take their number with them, but a surprising number of punters don't bother. Their new operator sends them a replacement SIM with a new number and Facebook (or Bebo etc) takes care of updating the mates. But the old number, relegated to an electronic void, could be useful to someone, and Numbuz intends to find that person.

The company will take a number you enter, and see if it matches any popular pattern or word (using the number-letter relationship on a phone keypad). You can then choose to list your iron-pyrites number and if you sell it then Numbuz will take a ten-per-cent cut. Some chap has already discovered he owns GOOGLE (466453), and is asking a grand and a half for it.

Dialling words has never been very popular in the UK for some reason. While US advertisements are packed with inducements to call "1-800 plumber", we tend to focus on numbers rather than words, though there seems no reason that shouldn't change. Whether British punters can be induced to part with cash for a polished-brass number is another matter, but there seems little harm in trying. ®

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