US carriers to open at 8 am Friday for iPhone launch

Verizon Wireless store (interior 001)

With Apple not offering pre-orders for the iPhone 5s, folks hoping to score the handset on launch day will have to make their way to a local retailer. A number of outlets will be selling the new iPhones on Friday, including Walmart and Radio Shack.

What time should you get there? Well some folks have already been in line for several days now. But if you’re not that committed, we recommend getting there as early on Friday morning as possible. It looks like most retailers are opening at 8 am…

We’ve been able to confirm that, like Apple Stores, all major carriers participating in this week’s iPhone launch will be opening their store doors at 8 am. That includes select corporate and third-party locations for Sprint, Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile.

T-Mobile iPhone launch line

Unfortunately, our local Walmart was unable to give us any launch-day details. But it’s possible that since many of the company’s stores are open 24 hours, they could start selling the new handsets as early as midnight—they’ve done it before.

Radio Shack also seems like a wildcard, as the staff we talked to confirmed they won’t be opening up until 9 am on Friday. And even then, reps from two different locations said they won’t be receiving their iPhone shipments until that afternoon.

So from the sounds of things, your best bet is to get to an Apple or carrier store as early as possible on Friday morning, or even Thursday night. I also recommend calling ahead of time to confirm they’ll have stock, as details vary from store to store.

Looking to avoid the launch day rush? The iPhone 5c is currently available for pre-order, and the iPhone 5s will be available for online purchase starting at 12:01 am on September 20.