BioWare just announced the date for early access to SWTOR. Players who pre-ordered the game will be granted early access beginning Tuesday, December 13, 2011 at 6:00 am CST.
The actual date for SWTOR opening to the public will not begin until December 20. In other words, players who pre-ordered the game have a 7 days head-start advantage. If you are interested in taking advantage of the early access and other benefits, you can pre-order a copy on Origin here.