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There were still six million terminals owned by France Télécom, which had been left with their users in order to avoid recycling problems.
The main uses were banking and financial services, which benefit from Minitel's security features, and access to professional databases.
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).
The service became available in metropolitan Paris in December 1983.
in By early 1986 1.4 million terminals were connected to Minitel, with plans to distribute another million by the end of the year.
The government chose not to enact coercive measures, however, stating that the regulation of the online activities of children was up to parents, not the government.
In exchange for the terminal, the possessors of Minitel would not be given free "white page" printed directories (alphabetical list of residents and firms), but only the yellow pages (classified commercial listings, with advertisements); the white pages were accessible for free on Minitel, and they could be searched by a reasonably intelligent search engine; much faster than flipping through a paper directory.
A trial with 1,500 residential telephone customers began in Ille-et-Vilaine in May 1981.
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.