"TeleSampo: a money-making Sampo, with which Tele makes a lot of money." - a glossary item from MikroBitti

TeleSampo was one of the early modem services provided by Tele (Telecom Finland), the company currently known as Sonera. There also was a similar service called Infotel from Tele (or by local phone companies, can't remember which).

TeleSampo served as a point where people could call in with a modem for small fee, and then connect to other services - all of which were priced differently. So, there were services and a money-grabbing model for them.

TeleSampo served as a gateway to other information networks and also provided one connectivity method for some BBSes. For example, it was one of the ways to connect to CompuServe and some other networks. For me, it was a way to connect to Freenet Finland.

It also had connections to some other places like the Finnish phone book. Many banks also offered their services through them. There were also a lot of other services like Netcafe Download (from where I got a whole bunch of files) and some, ahem, high-priced services where children were not allowed to go into.

Of course, their significance was greatly decreased when inexpensive Internet access became available. In that time, they started offering very restricted Lynx access (Freenet had full Lynx access, with much smaller per-minute fee!), but I figured out that PPP access via EUnet would become cheaper and faster than Freenet use...

TeleSampo is still up. For paid and billed accounts, it can also be reached via telnet at telesampo.tele.fi (I have no idea how to obtain an account, though); for services charged to phone bill, the modem number in Finland is 0209292.

(I think I need to dig out that old ad of them that listed more of the services...)