Overview of Minitel in France
     The French Teletel videotex network (technical system called Antiope) is arguably the greatest videotex success story of the 1980s. It was created in 1980 by France Telecom, the French government's telephone company, and it still operates in the late 1990s.
     From the start, the service was innovative. It replaced telephone books, containing every telephone listing in France, and it featured train, plane, bus and subway schedules as well as volumes of news and information.
     To use it, viewers needed a dedicated Minitel terminal, which initially was given free to telephone subscribers. The early terminals featured a 1,200 bps receive and 75 bps send modem, a fold-up keyboard and either a 9-inch black-and-white screen or a 12-inch color screen. The system later was adapted to use either the terminals or a computer for access.
     The system essentially was financed by its electronic telephone book, and revenues from the system were used to rebuild France's aging phone system. France Telecom used the money it would have spent to publish and deliver conventional phone books to finance much of the construction. Then, revenues generated by telephone usage were used to help finance the reconstruction.
     Now, more than 20 million users can access more than 25,000 services on Teletel/Minitel. The service even is available in the United States, but most of the information on it is in the French language. These users have 6.5 million Minitel terminals and 600,000 microcomputers with the appropriate software.

     According to France Telecom:

"Minitel in France provides a wealth and diversity of services unrivaled elsewhere. It meets the needs of all users, residential and business alike. The language used for most of these services is French."



  • Number of hours: 110 million
  • Number of calls: 1.913 billion
  • Electronic French white pages, number of calls: 784 million
  • Total turnover: 6.6 billion French Francs (Tax excl.)
  • Settlement to service providers: 3.1 billion French Francs (Tax excl.)
  • Examples of online services: Cars, Motorbikes, Consumer information: advice, shopping, Culture, Lifestyle, Society, Media, Current affairs, Employment, Europe, Finance, Stockmarket Games, Astrology, Chat, Health, Leisure, Property, SportTax, Legislation, Telecommunications, Tourist information, Training, Transport
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