- Associated Press - Thursday, December 20, 2012

MADRID (AP) - Spain’s National Competition Commission has fined top telecommunications operators Telefonica, Vodafone and Orange a total of (EURO)120 million ($159 million) for abusing their dominant position and charging excessively high prices for texts and multimedia messages.

The commission said Thursday that between 2000 and 20009 the three companies exploited the absence of regulation to maintain artificially high wholesale prices for operators without their own networks. It said this led to higher retail prices for short messages and created barriers for companies wishing to enter or expand in the market.

Telefonica was fined (EURO)46.5 million, Vodafone (EURO)43.5 million and Orange (EURO)30 million. The three said they would appeal.