Well here it is...the first in a new weekly column digging into the ever-evolving enigma that is the mobile phone deals world. As if Fridays weren't already exciting enough, I'll be chiming in at the end of every week with a state of the nation on everything phone dealsy.
The Big Deal will bring you news and views on what's happening in the phone deals market. Sometimes tidbits on the best smartphone deals and offers you may have missed, sometimes fact-based opinion on a hot topic, always something relevant and (hopefully) interesting.
The imminent unveiling of the Samsung Galaxy S9 naturally dominates this inaugural post, but I also have news on a fantastic new price on the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 and a word on Carphone Warehouse-brand iD's (opens in new tab) new data calling proposition.
So pour yourself a cup of tea (or something stronger - we're all adults here...right?), and prepare to be dealsed™...
- Just want to know today's cheapest prices? Then head straight to our best mobile phone deals page
A Galaxy very, very close...
You ignored the hype around the iPhone X. You buried your head in the sand during Black Friday. You ran a mile at the mention of the January sales. The only phone deal you've been interested in knowing about for the last six months is the brand new Samsung Galaxy S9. And it's finally here...almost.
Samsung's new flagship phone (and the bigger brother Galaxy S9 Plus) will be unveiled to much fanfare this Sunday February 25 at 5pm, and retailers and networks are making it available to pre-order from 6pm. So be sure to head to our Samsung Galaxy S9 deals page to hear about the best prices as soon as their announced.
An EXCLUSIVE Samsung Galaxy Note 8 deal
Sure, the Galaxy S9 Plus is lilkely to be a very impressive beast of a phone, but if you want something bigger and possibly better, then the 6.3-inch Galaxy Note 8 behemoth is waiting in the wings. And to turn your head, we've negotiated an exclusive deal on this phone just for TechRadar readers. This offer from online retailer Fonehouse is the best value around on the Galaxy Note 8 at the moment.
Samsung Galaxy Note 8 on Vodafone (opens in new tab) | £19 upfront | 16GB data | Unlimited minutes and texts | £43pm
Online phone retailer Fonehouse has held this smasher of a deal back for TechRadar readers only. At £1,051 for the two years, you can't get this amount of data on the Note 8 cheaper anywhere else.
Get our EXCLUSIVE Galaxy Note 8 deal in black (opens in new tab)
Get our EXCLUSIVE Galaxy Note 8 deal in gold (opens in new tab)
Prepare for some (price) hikes
Just when you thought it was all going so well - and I wasn't far off from wielding a #FridayFeeling - it all comes crashing down with news of bigger bills. All four of the major phone networks put out statements this week that prices would be going up.
First came EE, the UK's fastest 4G network, with news that bills from March 30 will go up 4.1% in line with December's RPI inflation figure. That was the impact that started the avalanche, as the others followed. O2 announced a 4% hike, while Three and Vodafone have not yet revealed exactly how much their increase will be - but they are coming.
iD just called, to say...
If you live (like I do) out in the sticks and bereft of even the merest whiff of a phone reception, you've probably come to rely on the apps offered by the bigger networks that let you make calls over the Wi-Fi. Well, those apps may soon begin proliferating down among the smaller networks after iD announced that it would be the first MVNO to offer such a service.
MVNOs (or Mobile Virtual Network Operators) piggy back off of the coverage provided by bigger networks. iD, for example, uses Three's coverage. They tend to have the same coverage as the full networks, but often with fewer perks. Virgin Mobile, Sky Mobile, Tesco Mobile, Giffgaff and Plusnet are all examples of MVNOs in the UK.
Pixel prices getting smaller
Ending on a high note, we're delighted to see that Google Pixel 2 deals have taken a dramatic fall in price after a few weeks of absolutely shocking tariffs. For a while back there, it was virtually impossible to buy Google's 2017 flagship phone for less than £1,000 over the two years. With the introduction of new tariffs, it's now possible to bring that total down under the £700-mark.
We know that will make a lot of people very happy, as we've seen that the Google Pixel 2 is one of the most popular handsets on the market following its release last autumn. And the revised pricing makes it a much more affordable option than the likes of the iPhone 8.
If you want to discuss, debate or deliberate any phone deals news and views, then head over to our @TRDeals (opens in new tab) twitter feed - you'll also find the latest offers on phones, TVs, consoles, broadband and more tech.