Can I Get Your Digits: Thais pay beaucoup baht for lucky No. 9

In a country where people born Fridays believe their lucky days are Tuesday, and lottery numbers are divined from contaminated sausages, it should come as no surprise that fortuitous phone numbers are in high demand.

Mobile numbers starting with 08 began running out awhile back, so a new 09 prefix was made available. As luck would have it, 09 is a number many Thais believe will bring good fortune.

Why? It just sounds lucky. The number nine, or gow in Thai, sounds similar to “step forward.” The obsession with the number is seen across vehicle license plates, banknotes and other objects.

And now that luck risks running out as the numbers have been selling for about two years.

While the average starting price is around THB1,000, some specific, super-lucky numbers can cost up to THB100,000, depending on the interpretation of the serial numbers.

Actor and self-proclaimed numerological expert Karin ‘Man’ Satayu has helped steer media attention to the lucky numbers, certainly not to improve the fortune of his own phone number consulting service. The right digits will dial in better luck, love and money, Karin claims, indicating the rise of celebrity customers such as Yayaying (from Only God Forgives), who went to the top after having her phone number changed.

The trend has caused many SIM card retailers to search for particular numbers. Some have gone as far as phoning the owners of prime numbers and offering to buy their cards.

There are approximately 20 lucky dealers who can obtain and sell the 09 lucky numbers at expensive rates, because of the cost of doing business. Generally, the dealer must spend at least THB100,000 to buy a lucky SIM card before reselling it.

“It works like the amulet market”, said the source.

The National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) will soon release another set of 099-xxx-xxxx, which is bound to fuel the dynamics of the market yet again, Khaosod reported.

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