After learning that the same smartphone was going on pre-order in both the US and UK at dramatically different prices, we asked HTC what was going on – and it answered.
When we first learnt about the HTC One A9 we were equal parts excited and miffed. As you’ll see from our review, the A9 promised to trim the fat and tweak the weaker elements of HTC One M9 into a more focused smartphone and for the most part it achieves this goal.
What we weren’t expecting was such a disparity between how much US consumers were being asked to pay for the device on pre-order and how much us Brits were getting billed for the privilege of owning the Taiwanese company’s shiny new flagship.
The One A9 is launching in two distinct flavours; a 16GB and a 32GB model (which also packs 3GB of RAM rather than 2GB). Stateside the beefier A9 can be had for $399 (around £260) unlocked, complete with a six-month Google Play Music subscription, whilst in this green and pleasant land the skinnier 16GB version is available on pre-order for a whopping £479.99 (around $735) off-contract.
So what gives? Even if you take into account the average US and UK tax rates added onto items such as smartphones, it’s hard to account for a £220 price difference (not to mention twice the internal storage and an extra 1GB of RAM).
We reached out to HTC to shed light on the situation and after a little waiting, we heard back. Here’s the company’s official line on the matter:
“The cost of the HTC One A9 is the same worldwide to all distributors and operator partners. For end consumers, HTC’s sales regions are given the freedom to set prices and promotions as they see fit for local market needs.
The One A9 price in the US is a very limited-time promotional offer for that region’s online store, as well as select HTC-only franchise stores. The offer is a special promotional pre-sale and is expected to conclude once the One A9 is available on-shelf at major retail and distributor partners.”
So, in HTC’s own words it was its local US and UK teams who opted to price the phone so spectacularly low and horrifically high respectively. The incredible value the One A9 can currently be had in the US for will only last until the phone’s pre-order period is up and it officially hits store shelves.
Meanwhile we’re stuck with the diet version and a significantly higher price tag that will take months to drop, after which we’ll still likely be paying more than US HTC fans. Ouch.