As it hinted when it announced its Norwegian franchise last month, there was more to Mondex International's first continental European beachhead than met the eye.

Posten SDS, the Mondex Norway co-owner with Telenor Conax, said last week that it was forming a smart card development center in Oslo along with Hitachi Europe Ltd., Mobile Business Systems, and the Student Service Organization for Oslo University. The Norwegian National Computer Center will provide consulting support.

Posten SDS, the high-technology subsidiary of the country's post office, also officially announced that it will rely on the Multos operating system. The company plans to play a "trusted third party" role in a national electronic identification system, serving five million citizens.

This is expected to be the beginning of a multinational adoption of Multos in the Nordic region, said officials of Posten SDS and Maosco Ltd., the consortium consisting of MasterCard, Mondex, Hitachi, and others that oversee the Multos standard.

The smart card development center will be one of the first organizations in Europe developing applications to run on Multos.

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