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The rates depended on the service called; most services were far cheaper than this maximum.It then paid back part of the sum to the companies operating Minitel servers.In December 1985 Minitel users made more than 22 million calls, up 400% in one year.
The service was rolled out experimentally in 1978 in Brittany and throughout France in 1982 by the PTT (Postes, Télégraphes et Téléphones; divided since 1991 between France Télécom and La Poste).
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 retired the service on 30 June 2012.
In 1978 France Télécom, the country's PTT, began designing the Minitel network.
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.