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In December 1985 Minitel users made more than 22 million calls, up 400% in one year.In 2005, there were 351 million calls for 18.5 million hours of connection, generating €206 million of revenue, of which €145 million were redistributed to 2,000 service providers (these numbers were declining at around 30% per year).
A trial with 1,500 residential telephone customers began in Ille-et-Vilaine in May 1981.From its early days, users could make online purchases, make train reservations, check stock prices, search the telephone directory, have a mail box, and chat in a similar way to that now made possible by the Internet.In February 2009, France Telecom indicated the Minitel network still had 10 million monthly connections.The development of Minitel spawned the creation of many start-up companies in a manner similar to the later dot-com bubble of Internet-related companies.Similarly, many of those small companies floundered because of an overcrowded market or bad business practices (lack of infrastructure for online retailers).Minitel sales in the late 1990s accounted for almost 15% of sales at La Redoute and 3 Suisses, France's biggest mail order companies.
In 2005, the most popular Minitel application was Teleroute, the online real-time freight exchange, which accounted for nearly 8% of Minitel usage.
France Télécom estimates that almost 9 million terminals—including web-enabled personal computers (Windows, Mac OS, and Linux)—had access to the network at the end of 1999, and that it was used by 25 million people (of a total population of 60 million).
Developed by 10,000 companies, in 1996, almost 26,000 different services were available.
Companies could add up to 3 lines of complementary information and a "prehistoric" website.
Ads to the Minitel phone directory were sold by ODA (Office d'Annonces), today Pages Jaunes Groupe in Sèvres France.
The rates depended on the service called; most services were far cheaper than this maximum.