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Spanish regulators have fined Telefonica (NYSE: TEF ) , Vodafone (NASDAQ: VOD ) , and France Telecom's (NYSE: ORAN ) Orange unit a record total of $159 million, for taking advantage of their dominant positions to overcharge for their short message services, or SMS -- also known as text messaging.
The Commission National de la Competencia, or CNC, Spain's antitrust regulator, accused that nation's three largest mobile operators of committing an "exploitative abuse of dominant position," conduct prohibited by Spain's Competition Act.
The SMS overcharging occurred during the period 2000-2009, and was facilitated by those carriers' SMS operations not being regulated during that time, the CNC wrote in a press release.