Finnish telecoms network maker Nokia confirmed it might start designing and licensing mobile phone handsets under its brand name in 2016.
According to Nokia, it was looking for a partner who would take on the manufacturing, sales, marketing and customer support for the products.
According to the company, a Nokia mobile phone would not reach the market before the fourth quarter of 2016 when Nokia's agreement with Microsoft allowed the use of its brand name again.
A Nokia spokesman said, "We will look for the right partner who can take on the heavy lifting and work closely with us to deliver a great product. As we agreed with Microsoft, the soonest that could happen is Q4 2016 - so it's safe to say Nokia won't be back [at least in phone form...] before then."
Nokia sold its phone business to Microsoft in 2014 following years of declining sales (See: Microsoft to acquire Nokia's handset business for $7.1 bn).
"The right path back to mobile phones for Nokia is through a brand-licensing model," Nokia said in a statement.
"That means identifying a partner that can be responsible for all of the manufacturing, sales, marketing, and customer support for a product."
The company earlier, this year released its N1 tablet, which was well received in China. The company added today that it would be the model for a return to handsets.
"If and when we find a world-class partner who can take on those responsibilities, we would work closely with them to guide the design and technology differentiation, as we did with the Nokia N1 Android tablet," it said.
"That's the only way the bar would be met for a mobile device we'd be proud to have bear the Nokia brand, and that people will love to buy."
After it sold its mobile business to Microsoft and focused on networking equipment, the Finnish company had agreed to acquire French giant Alcatel-Lucent in a deal valued at €15.6 billion (Nokia to acquire Alcatel-Lucent in $16.6-bn stock deal).
The agreement would see Alcatel-Lucent shareholders own 33.5 per cent of the combined company, while Nokia shareholders would own 66.5 per cent of the merged entity to be known as Nokia Corporation.