China Telecom officially launched the iPhone 4S on Friday, having taken a massive 200,000 pre-orders for the long-awaited handset.

The carrier – which is the third-largest in China – announced the news back in February, after a number of reports suggested that Apple was building a modified version if its fifth-generation iPhone handset for China Telecom’s network.

Now, Apple fans in China can grab the handset with China Telecom – the iPhone 4S (16 gigabyte) is available for free with a contract, and can be pre-ordered from one of the carrier’s 2,850 retail stores. In Beijing and Shanghai, pre-orders exceeded 10,000 and 20,000 units.

China Telecom boasts more than 129 million subscribers. Already, Apple’s iPhone is available with China Unicom – though the extreme crowds and outbreaks of violence on iPhone 4S launch day suggests that Apple wasn’t truly prepared for the launch of the handset in China, as demand was too great.

Hopefully with China Telecom on board, the next iPhone launch will go a lot smoother, and there’ll be fewer eggs thrown.

[via M.I.C. Gadget]