Apple confirmed today that the UK launch time of its iPhone will be 6.02pm this Friday.
The £269 gadget will go on sale at around 1,300 Apple, O2 and Carphone Warehouse stores across the UK and via their websites.
Each shopper will be limited to two iPhones, on a first-come, first-served basis.
Queues are expected to start forming outside shops well ahead of the evening launch.
Carphone Warehouse has pledged to keep all 783 of its UK stores open on Friday night until the last customers leave.
Critics have said the iPhone’s UK retail price, including the mobile phone tariff, compares badly with its price elsewhere.
After the £269 upfront cost, customers will have to sign an 18-month contract with O2 on a tariff of either £35, £45 or £55 per month.
The £35 tariff includes up to 200 minutes and 200 text messages a month. This rises to 600 minutes and 500 texts for the £45 tariff and 1,200 minutes and 500 texts for the £55 tariff.
Unlocking the iPhone
Hackers are reportedly gearing up to create software which will unlock the iPhone from the O2 network.
The iPhone has proved hugely successful in the US, selling more than a million units there since its summer launch.
Owners must have the latest version of iTunes and a PC or Mac in order to activate their new iPhones.