Jolla, the Finnish start-up aiming to build phones based on Nokia’s former MeeGo OS, has revealed the identities of its first operator and chipset partners.

The firm has struck a deal with Finland’s number-three mobile operator DNA, which has agreed to market Jolla smartphones based on its MeeGo-based ‘Sailfish’ platform in Finland “as soon as they enter the market.”

“We target to have a network of partners around Sailfish during the coming year,” said Sami Pienimäki, Jolla’s VP of Sales. “We are partnering up with operators, for example, to benefit from their solid know-how in retail and distribution."

The company is also partnering with ST-Ericsson on chipsets for its smartphones. And it already has a distribution deal in place with D.Phone, China’s largest mobile phone retailer – suggesting China's fast growing smartphone user base will be a target market.   

While Jolla is demonstrating the OS working at an event in Finland this week – and has released an accompanying video (see below) – it is not yet clear when the first phones running the software will appear.

According to reports last month, Jolla is thought to have raised EUR200 million from a consortium of mobile industry investors.

It will distribute its version of MeeGo free of charge to device makers – but is said to be looking at a range of other ways to raise funds, including via mobile advertising, software licensing and a possible IPO.

Nokia launched the open-source MeeGo OS in partnership with Intel in 2010, but it was largely abandoned last year when Nokia adopted Microsoft’s Windows Phone platform for its smartphones.

MeeGo was used in only one commercial Nokia smartphone, the N9, which was well-regarded but suffered from Nokia’s withdrawal of support for the platform.