Econet recently started an ad campaign for a service that will allow subscribers to obtain vanity telephone numbers under a new cell phone number prefix 078. Information on their website did not reveal when the number prefix would be operational. Econet will be selling at a premium all the easy to remember numbers under the new prefix in a promotion they have dubbed “Know me. Know my number.”
They have divided the numbers into three packages: Unique Platinum, Unique Gold and Unique Silver. The Platinum package consists of the ten phone numbers 0782 000 000- 0782 999 999. These numbers have no fixed price; they will be sold at an auction on a yet to be announced date. These numbers are likely to appeal to big corporations which might use them as call centre numbers for their marketing, sales and customer department numbers.
The Unique Gold package consists of cellphone numbers with repeat sequences. For example three digit sequences such as 0782 222 444, two digit repeat sequences such as 0782 77 22 44 or counting sequences such as 0782 345 678. These numbers are being sold at $89 per number at Econet Shops countrywide. This package would be useful to those smaller companies who are likely to be outbid at Platinum auction.
Numbers under the Unique Silver package are being sold at $39 each. Under this package customers get to choose their own number based on their whims. This might be a birthday so for instance a person born on 20 May 92 might choose the cellphone number 0782 20 05 92 which corresponds to their birthday in the form DDMMYY. This might also allow companies and individuals to match numbers across networks for example if your number was 0733 473 953 you might want to buy 0782 473 953.
For some organisations,businesses and individuals having a telephone number that is easy to remember is not only essential but sometimes part of their Critical Success Factors so the Econet initiative to give people the opportunity to choose their own numbers is to be applauded. One can point to the Emergency Services numbers as an example. They make it easy for people to be able to remember the number and quickly reach them in time of need.
As an aside however we hope Econet uses an online auction platform that will allow for wider participation in the Unique Platinum package auction. Perhaps it will be the catalyst that the Zimbabwean market needs to draw attention the viability of online markets.