It seems the UK branch of Vodafone is going to sell the HTC One for £100 upfront on a 2 year contract with £33 monthly payments. This is compared to the iPhone 5 that is free with the same contract. So what's going on here? Has HTC "lost it" for good?
I think there's at least one technical issue why this is happensing, and might be a negotiation issue, too, as well as a way for HTC to make some profit (they haven't made much of that lately at all). The technical issue is that the HTC One starts at 32 GB and also comes with 2 GB of RAM, while the iPhone 5 comes with half of that on both accounts. Both the internal storage and the memory are pretty expensive components in a mobile device. But that still seems like a pricey add-on. Both could probably be added for an extra £50.
Then there's the display, too, which is 1080p, while the iPhone 5 doesn't even have a 720p one (although it's pretty close). And high-resolution displays are expensive, too. But you also have to consider that by the time this phone launches it will be about half a year newer than the iPhone 5, and components should've gotten a bit cheaper since then.
The next possibility is that HTC isn't willing to negotiate (i.e. compromise) with carriers anymore. They want to promote the HTC One globally as the same model, without any major changes to it, and they don't care what the carriers want. If they did that, and the carriers still accepted to sell their phone, then they probably asked for more money from HTC or a deeper discount on it, so HTC is force to sell it for more.
The other thing is that HTC hasn't made a (good) profit in at least a year. Samsung and Apple have taken all the profits in the smartphone market. HTC's sales keep declining, and they need profit to keep investing in better products, otherwise things are only going to get worse. I'm just not sure if pricing them higher than competitors without giving value in return to customers is going to work. Fortunately, they are giving some extra value to the customers, as I mentioned above, so many might think it's worth the extra money, and they wouldn't be wrong to believe that.