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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 what is now made possible by the Internet.
In February 2009, France Telecom indicated the Minitel network still had 10 million monthly connections.
Millions of terminals were lent for free to telephone subscribers, resulting in a high penetration rate among businesses and the public.To reduce opposition from newspapers worried about competition from an electronic network, they were allowed to establish the first consumer services on Minitel.Libération offered 24-hour online news, such as results from events at the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles that occurred overnight in France.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.
The Minitel was a Videotex online service accessible through telephone lines, and is considered one of the world's most successful pre-World Wide Web online services.