European Union anti-trust officials have launched surprise investigations at the offices of several telecoms firms suspected of abusing their positions in Internet services, the EU said on Thursday.
The European Commission said its anti-trust officials had made the "unannounced inspections" on Tuesday on suspicions the companies concerned had abused a dominant market position.
French daily Le Figaro cited the companies concerned as France's Orange, Germany's Deutsche Telekom and Telefonica in Spain. It said the probes at their head offices would continue through to Friday.
There was no immediate confirmation from the companies themselves.
The Commission, the EU's executive, said in a statement that it "has concerns that the companies concerned may have violated EU anti-trust rules that prohibit the abuse of a dominant market position".
But it stressed that unannounced inspections are a preliminary step into suspect anticompetitive practices but do not imply that companies are guilty of such behaviour.
Internet connectivity allows content providers to connect to the Internet so as to be able to provide their services or products at the retail level.