U.S. regulators said on Thursday they had proposed penalizing three wireless carriers which the government says failed to meet new stricter standards for being able to locate cellular telephone callers in an emergency.

The Federal Communications Commission said it proposed fines totaling $2.825 million against Sprint Nextel Corp, Alltel Corp and United States Cellular Corp for failing to meet the new standards.

The new standards require all carriers to ensure that by the end of 2005, 95 percent of their subscribers have handsets with enhancements that would enable emergency workers to locate someone who has dialed 911 from a cellular telephone.

Alltel, Sprint Nextel, and U.S. Cellular failed to meet this critical deadline by a significant margin, despite the clear requirements of the Commission and the needs of their consumers, FCC Chairman Kevin Martin said in a statement.

While we recognize the efforts undertaken by the carriers, and encourage the continued efforts of all carriers to enhance these life-saving technologies and work with the public safety community, the fines issued today are significant and appropriate, Martin said.

Representatives of the three companies could not immediately be reached for comment.