The Federal Communications Commission is holding its first-ever phone number auction.
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The agency announced that the auction of toll-free numbers Tuesday will include more than 17,600 sought-after numbers in the 833 area code. As of press time, 44 applicants qualified to bid in the sale, headed up by toll-free numbering administrator Somos, Inc.
The most coveted numbers include "833-lawyers," "833-dentist," "833-doctors," and "833-flowers," an agency spokesperson told FOX Business. Also in play is "833-economy."
The auction will serve as a test for using bidding to assign toll-free numbers, the FCC said, and "ensure sought-after numbers are awarded to parties that value them most."
Most toll-free numbers now are assigned on a first-come, first-served basis, the agency said, which it called "a system that does not factor in the need for or value of a number."
While there are no estimates of how much money the auction will raise, an FCC spokesperson said the proceeds will offset administrative costs of toll-free numbering.