An O2 spokesman said all O2 retail stores will close at 4pm to allow for iPhone displays to be set up. Stores will re-open at 6.02pm and close at 10pm.
Carphone Warehouse stores will not close, but will release the device for sale at the same time as O2 stores. There will be no set closing times, with stores staying open according to customer demand.
Apple could not confirm if its stores would do the same.
The O2 spokesman said despite an anticipated rush the sales process would be quick, as customers would connect the device themselves online.
He said connection congestion problems experienced by customers following the US launch of the device in June had allowed O2 to reinforce its website and network in advance.
The spokesman said: “We have the benefit of hindsight and have been working with Apple following the US launch. We’ve taken the feedback on board to build a robust procedure to handle large quantities of connections. We’re confident we have measures in place for easy activation of the devices.”