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French mobile operators hit with antitrust fines



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PARIS (AP) - France's competition watchdog has slapped (EURO)183 million ($239 million) in fines on the country's two top mobile operators for anti-competitive pricing policies between 2005 and 2008.

The Autorite de Concurrence said Thursday that Orange and SFR had abused their dominant market positions and hurt the country's number three operator, Bouygues Telecom. Specifically the watchdog cited the policy of offering unlimited calls between subscribers of one network, which it said threw up an unjustified barrier to free competition among operators.

Orange, whose parent company France Telecom was fined a combined (EURO)117.4 million, and SFR, which was fined (EURO)65.7 million, both said they would appeal the decision.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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