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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.
In 1985 France Télécom earned 620 million francs (approximately $70 million) from Minitel.
2,000 private companies earned 289 million francs (about $35 million) during the year; Libération earned 2.5 million francs (about $300,000) from the service in September.
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).
France Télécom mentions, as an example of usage, that 12 million updates to personal "carte vitale" health-care cards were made through Minitel.
It was accessible through the phone number 11; on 18 October 1996 (new French numbering system adopted), the access to the phone directory changed to 3611.
By distributing terminals that could access a nationwide electronic directory of telephone and address information, it hoped to increase use of the country's 23 million phone lines, and reduce the costs of printing printed phone books and employing directory assistance personnel.
Millions of terminals were lent for free to telephone subscribers, resulting in a high penetration rate among businesses and the public.
In the late 1990s, Minitel connections were stable at 100 million a month plus 150 million online directory inquiries, in spite of growing Internet use.