BSNL - may it live long and prosper (even though its "corporate" site has been down for at least three hours today) - is holding a public auction of what it has dubbed "vanity"/"premium"/"fancy" mobile numbers. It has placed numbers with formats such as 8300000000, 8300001234, 8300010001, 8300081000 etc. under the gavel with starting prices ranging from Rs. 50000 down to Rs. 2000.
The auction appears to be open only for a few states at a time which currently are Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala, Haryana, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland and Manipur. Furthermore, the auction window does not appear to be constant with some states getting a ten day bidding period with others getting almost three weeks. Uttar Pradesh, according to the fancy (not) Flash map, will be allowed to participate from the 25th of this month. In a rather curious aside, the auctioneers can be contacted via a gmail e-mail account rather than one provided by BSNL, also an ISP and a commercial vendor of mail servers.