Under the supervision of the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA), the two licensed mobile operators (Omantel and Oredoo) concluded the first special number online auction. The two-day auction began last Thursday 8 February 2018 and achieved a great success with a total of 311,500 Omani Riyals raised , of which 287,500 Omani Riyals are the value of bids on Omantel numbers and 23,500 Omani Riyals raised by Ooredoo online auction. As many as 258 participants registered for the auction, of which 222 registered for Omantel auction and 36 for Ooredoo special numbers auction.
Twenty special numbers from both mobile operators were auctioned, of which 7 were diamond numbers and 3 were golden numbers at Omantel's auction, 4 diamond numbers and 6 golden numbers at Ooredoo's auction. The special number 71111111 was sold for 196,000 Omani Riyals at Omantel's auction and the highest bid at Ooredoo's auction went for the mobile number 79100000.
The online bidding was conducted through the websites of the telecom companies and the participants registered for the auction through the said websites. The bidding system was established and developed by the TRA in coordination with the telecommunications companies.
As per international best practices, the money from number auctions will be allocated to charitable organizations approved by the Ministry of Social Development in the Sultanate, as stipulated by Article (16) of the Telecommunications Regulatory Act and its executive regulations (49), which stipulates that " the Authority shall determine and collect the allocation charge for premium numbers and shall deposit the proceeds in a special account to be spent in the public good purposes according to Article (16) of the Act.) Accordingly, the TRA followed a defined mechanism to distribute the auction proceeds on an annual basis, where the TRA contacts charities at the beginning of each year as per lists of charities approved by the Ministry of Social Development, to submit their annual plans and projects for the TRA. The TRA then will study these plans and projects and determine a specific amount of total revenues from special numbers auctions for distribution to these organizations, after obtaining the approval of TRA Board of Directors.
With regard to bidding registration fee, this is regulated by the recently issued Regulation organizing the allocation of telecommunications numbers pursuant to Decision (No 1/2018) , under which the diamond and gold numbers are auctioned as per the controls set out in this Regulation, with the objective of achieving transparency in the allocation of telecommunication numbers between users . The Regulation also stipulates that the telecom companies be entitled to 3% of the registration proceeds of RO 20 per bid registration with a maximum of RO 5000 for each auction after deducting any charges payable for online payment.