These 5 Well-Intended Behaviors Make You Look Very Indecisive

No subject is trickier and more damaging than when a leader engages in seemingly innocuous behaviors that ultimately add up to indecision. Indecision can paralyze an organization. It can create doubt, uncertainty, lack of focus, and even resentment.

Aggressive competitors might be eating your lunch while you’re still deciding whether to use a fork or spoon. So, catch yourself before engaging in any of the following five well-meaning behaviors and adjust accordingly:

1. You ask for more data to inform or support a decision.

There’s nothing wrong with requesting more data, but when overdone, it crosses over into perfectionism and quickly reveals underlying insecurity. Time and time again, I’ve seen insecure leaders request unreasonable amounts of data to beat the level of risk or uncertainty down to zero.

Beneath it was always the fear of making the wrong decision. A good general rule of thumb is a mix of 60 percent data and 40 percent gut and experience to enable a decision.

Know when to stop the data collection. And learn to accept inevitabilities sooner.

2. You default to a pragmatic parallel path.

Two options are better than one, right? Sometimes. Other times, those options can linger, sapping your organization’s energy and killing your sense of completion. Timelines stretch. Costs skyrocket.

If you’re going to carry multiple solutions to a problem simultaneously, make sure that they’re distinct options without overlap. Have a clear decision tree in place–in other words, if “A” and “B” happens, then we all agree to eliminate Option No. 1. You get the idea.

3. You consistently seek approval from your chain of command.

Alignment is good. But this process quite often delays or even unwinds decisions, causing rework and countless re-loops.

Fight to get the autonomy you deserve as a leader, so you can make as many calls as possible. You can also get “pre-approval”–for example, if we meet conditions x, y, and z, then we’re quickly moving forward.

4. You put off a decision to wait for the right answer to present itself.

Not deciding might give your competitor more time to take action. It might burn more resources that could be used elsewhere and distract an organization that needs more focus.

You might also be overestimating the risk of getting it wrong. Every decision is not mission-critical. Ask yourself: What’s the worst-case scenario if the decision I make is wrong? It might be nowhere near as painful as the true cost of further delaying that decision.

Put discreet time parameters in place for making the call. Then, just make the call.

5. You encourage open and honest debate from all.

So, yes, debate is great. Until it’s not.

At some point, you have to cut off debate and follow the rule of “Debate. Decide. Commit.” Even those who were debating with you–those who won’t agree with the decision you ultimately make–will be happy that a decision was made.

Decisions move organizations forward. Leaders move organizations forward.

Some well-meaning behaviors may not bring, well, meaning, to an organization. But it’s always meaningful when you just make the call.

The Surprising Reason You Haven't Sent That Thank-You Note Yet (It's Not Too Late)

But if we are consciously aware of how important and impactful expressing gratitude is, then why do so many of us procrastinate about sending thank-you’s to those who deserve them?

According to University of Texas at Austin professor Amit Kumar, senders “think it’s not going to be that big a deal.” According to a recent study published in the journal Psychological Science, it’s all a matter of underestimating the positive feelings a thank you can bring to someone who receives it.

Recipients of thank-you notes who participated in the study indicated that they felt “ecstatic” after receiving written gratitude — scoring a happiness rating of 4 or 5. However, senders generally guessed that their letters would evoke just a 3 on the scale, hardly worth the effort.

Even further, the study also finds that those who don’t send out a thank-you letter or note may tend to overestimate how uncomfortable it will make the recipient feel. In addition, it is likely that these senders think the note will appear more insincere than it actually is.

Along with underestimating the value of sending a gratitude note, many participants were concerned with how much their writing would be critiqued by those who received it.

However, most recipients of thank-you notes in the study — led by Dr. Kumar and his co-author Nicholas Epley, a professor at the University of Chicago — said they cared more about warmth, and less about how the notes were phrased.

Are you still not sure where to start with your thank-you note? Do you need a few tips on how to expressing gratitude effectively?

Ultimately, don’t overthink how your gratitude will be received — be sure to express it. And right now would be a good time to start.

Amazon eyes Chilean skies as it seeks to datamine the stars

SANTIAGO (Reuters) – Amazon.com is in talks with Chile to house and mine massive amounts of data generated by the country’s giant telescopes, which could prove fertile ground for the company to develop new artificial intelligence tools.

FILE PHOTO: The logo of the web service Amazon is pictured in this June 8, 2017 illustration photo. REUTERS/Carlos Jasso/Illustration/File Photo

The talks, which have been little reported on so far and which were described to Reuters by Chilean officials and an astronomer, are aimed at fuelling growth in Amazon.com Inc’s cloud computing business in Latin America and boosting its data processing capabilities.

President Sebastian Pinera’s center-right government, which is seeking to wean Chile’s $325 billion economy from reliance on copper mining, announced last week it plans to pool data from all its telescopes onto a virtual observatory stored in the cloud, without giving a timeframe. The government talked of the potential for astrodata innovation, but did not give details.

The government did not comment on companies that might host astrodata in the computing cloud.

Amazon executives have been holding discussions with the Chilean government for two years about a possible data center to provide infrastructure for local firms and the government to store information on the cloud, an official at InvestChile, the government’s investment body, told Reuters.

For at least some of that time, the talks have included discussion about the possibility of Amazon Web Services (AWS), hosting astrodata, astronomer Chris Smith said, based on email exchanges he was part of between AWS and Chilean Economy Ministry officials over the last six months. Smith was at the time mission head of AURA observatory, which manages three of the U.S. federally-funded telescope projects in Chile.

Jeffrey Kratz, AWS’s General Manager for Public Sector for Latin American, Caribbean and Canada, has visited Chile for talks with Pinera. He confirmed the company’s interest in astrodata but said Amazon had no announcements to make at present.

“Chile is a very important country for AWS,” he said in an email to Reuters. “We kept being amazed about the incredible work on astronomy and the telescopes, as real proof points on innovation and technology working together.”

“The Chilean telescopes can benefit from the cloud by eliminating the heavy lifting of managing IT,” Kratz added.

AWS is a fast-growing part of Amazon’s overall business. In July it reported second-quarter sales of $6.1 billion, up by 49 percent over the same period a year ago, accounting for 12 percent of Amazon’s overall sales.

STAR-GAZING TO SHOP-LIFTING

Chile is home to 70 percent of global astronomy investment, thanks to the cloudless skies above its northern Atacama desert, the driest on earth. Within five years, the South American country will host three of the world’s four next-generation, billion-dollar telescopes, according to Smith.

He and Economy Ministry officials leading the Chilean initiative to store astrodata in the cloud saw potential in more Earth-bound matters.

The particular tools developed for the astrodata project could be applicable for a wide variety of other uses, such as tracking potential shop-lifters, fare-evaders on public transport and endangered animals, Julio Pertuze, a ministry official, told Reuters at the event announcing Chile’s aim to build a virtual observatory on the cloud.

Smith added that the same technology could also be applied to medicine and banking to spot anomalies in large datasets.

Amazon, whose founder and largest shareholder Jeff Bezos is well known for his interest in space, already provides a cloud platform for the Hubble Telescope’s data and the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research in Australia.

As Amazon explores the potential in Chile’s astrodata, tech rival Google, owned by Alphabet Inc, is already a member of Chile’s Large Synoptic Survey Telescope, which will be fully operational in Cerro Pachon in 2022. Google also has a data center established in the country.

Justin Burr, senior PR associate for AI and Machine learning at Google, declined to comment on any Google plans around astrodata or its involvement in other telescope projects.

Separately, a Google spokeswoman said last week that the company will announce expansion plans for its Chilean data center on Sept. 12.

GIANT DATABASE

Smith said that what the Chileans are calling the Astroinformatics Initiative – to harness the potential of astrodata – could enable Amazon Web Services access to the research that astronomers are doing on projects like the LSST.

“We are going to have to go through a huge database of billions of stars to find the three stars that an astronomer wants,” Smith said, adding that was not too different from searching a database of billions of people to find the right profile for a targeted advertisement.

“So a tool that might get developed in LSST or the astronomical world could be applicable for Amazon in their commercial world.”

Since speaking to Reuters, Smith has moved on from his job heading AURA to a new position at the U.S. National Science Foundation.

Amazon’s role in the astrodata project would also give it an entry into a market where it is seeking to expand. Amazon – which controls nearly one-third of the global cloud computing business, ahead of rivals Microsoft Corp and Google – has struggled to lure public institutions in Latin America, including research facilities, to store their data online instead of on physical machines.

AWS declined to provide any information on the size of its regional business in Latin America.

Economy Minister Jose Ramon Valente said at last week’s announcement, “Chile has enormous potential in its pristine skies not only in the observation of the universe but also in the amount of data that observation generates.”

Reporting by Cassandra Garrison; Additional reporting by Jeffrey Dastin and Aislinn Laing; Editing by Daniel Flynn and Frances Kerry

Day Job Shaming is Stupid. Here's Why Going All In Could Be Your Failure

Talk about romanticism: We are so quick to celebrate those quitting their day jobs, yet chastise those sensible enough to let their business grow from side hustle to full strength. In the latest rue, Fox News shamed ’80s sitcom actor Geoffrey Owens of The Cosby Show for being spotted working at Trader Joe’s. You can almost hear the collective gasp of seeing a middle-aged man make a respectful living. 

Don’t believe the hype – there is nothing dishonorable about having a day job, especially when you see Owens is still acting! In fact, having too much pride to have a day job can hurt your goals way more than help it.

Why we don’t feel authentic

It is easy to confuse high risk with maximum creativity, assuming that you have to put it all on the line to be a success – otherwise, you’re not living an authentic path. In reality, our need to go to extremes, like quitting our day jobs, masks a bigger insecurity or fear.

We fear that we will never make a move, so we create an extreme situation (“It’s do or die!” “It’s now or never!”) to motivate us. [But] We actually may be delaying our actions for reasons other than procrastination. Do you need more time to develop your next startup idea? Perhaps staying at your day job for another few months and working on the startup in your spare time would be the best route. Or, perhaps, you know deep in your heart that you don’t really want to do the startup in the first place.

Why we feel shame

We feel shame, and project our own shame on to other creatives, because we are afraid of looking like we aren’t successful. It is why, even to Mark Cuban’s confusion, we celebrate the startup that got a million-dollar loan over the scrappy bootstrapping one actually making a profit. It is why we champion glossy success over proven results.

It is why we support the rich-on-Instagram wannabe actress, who matches what we think Hollywood would be like, and shame the working-class actor, who is actually doing his profession regularly.

There is nothing sexy about a day job, except that it can help fund your big idea. Actually, that’s pretty sexy. It’s just that others may not think so.

What you can do about it

You have to ask yourself: Do I want to work on my craft or do I want to look good?

As a full-time independent, even I’ve had many late-stage discussions that almost became my day job. And while we eventually decided not to partner, I definitely respect the steady paycheck, the built-in health benefits, the retirement planning and, worth repeating, the steady paycheck.

In fact, a day job can actually afford you the ability to build your company the right way:

  • You aren’t making decisions based on profit
  • You can take your time naturally finding the audience you want to serve
  • You can pivot into (or out of!) the new business whenever you like

My best-seller The Bite-Sized Entrepreneur is based on this argument, with my full-time thing being independent writing and my two startups being my side hustle. In it, I also describe how, going full-time independent much earlier in my career, had me working temp jobs to literally keep the lights on.

It’s not just my argument, either. Chris Guillebeau, Chase Jarvis and countless other successful entrepreneurs all say the same thing: Don’t quit your day job!

And if a broke “full-time” entrepreneur criticizes your decision, you can buy them a round – because you can afford to.

JetBlue is Raising the Price to Check Bags–Here's Why United Airlines and Others Are Following Suit

JetBlue’s cost to check a bag has increased $5, going from $25 to $30 for your first bag, and $40 for your second (also a $5 increase). United Airlines has followed suit as well– charging a similar $30 for the first bag, and $40 for the second–their change went into effect August 31

Surely a company like JetBlue, which quite clearly has capable leadership–capable enough to keep the airline highest in customer satisfaction for 12 straight years (Southwest has now unseated them, but JetBlue hangs tight to 2nd place)–wouldn’t do something like this lightly. 

The cause? Fuel prices are spiking. 

You would imagine that they’ve run every possible scenario through various algorithms and concluded that raising baggage prices was the most logical option. And yes, something had to be done, because rising fuel prices over the last year have cut heavily into airline profits. 

As such, airlines are trying to rapidly figure out how to increase revenue while cutting expenses. 

Doug Mcgraw, Vice President, Corporate Communications at JetBlue, said, “We routinely review and adjust our ancillary pricing to ensure a healthy business so we can continue offering the best customer experience of any U.S. airline.” 

This definitely bodes problematic for those like Southwest and their infamous ‘bags fly free’ tagline. However, that isn’t stopping them from trying to find creative, ancillary techniques to drive top-line increases and recently announced that they are increasing the price of their EarlyBird boarding fee as much as $10 (depending on your route). 

Is there a hidden genius here, or is it just a last resort?

Maybe they’re banking on the price increases being offset by their faithful frequent fliers– JetBlue also has the highest-rated loyalty program among U.S. airlines.

Still, this seems like a risky tactic. Once upon a time, we liked to say that ‘any press is good press’. But that just doesn’t ring true anymore. 

No matter what amount of positive reputation JetBlue has garnered in the past, it doesn’t make them invincible to the power of bad headlines, especially when you’re a first mover of something that has to do with price hikes. And if you want to know how to get those, vaulting yourself to the top of a price list for something nobody actually likes paying for is certainly one way–even if United, WestJet, and Air Canada have all raised their prices as well.

The truth is, it’s very rare that you’d want to have the highest price for anything, especially when your biggest competitor is offering the exact same thing for free

A move like this shows that JetBlue has been painted into a corner and, and instead of waiting it out, they’re tracking through the wet stuff and making a media mess. Guess we’ll see what it looks like when it dries.

When Your Enemy Becomes Your Friend: The Love Story of SodaStream and Pepsi

Last week, Pepsi announced that it would purchase SodaStream for $3.2 billion. That’s billion with a B. You might think such a large transaction indicates two companies with a cozy relationship. These two companies, however, have not always gotten along. SodaStream’s marketing has taken the soda and bottled water industry head on. The make-at-home sparkling water company has been especially critical of soda companies’ unhealthy sugary drinks, and both industries’ reliance on plastic bottles. SodaStream CEO Daniel Birnbaum called the soda and bottled water industries “evil,” and said that “it shouldn’t be legal.”

In fact, SodaStream has had Pepsi in its sights before: in one advertisement, SodaStream took brutal aim at bottled water, which happened to have a logo and name awfully similar to Pepsi’s Bubly. My Inc. colleague Justin Bariso called it a declaration of war. Oddly, this campaign came shortly after the launch of a partnership where Pepsi would produce flavor pods for use with SodaStream.

With such mutual distain, why the merger? Here’s why Pepsi’s big purchase makes sense:

1. Access to the Home

SodaStream allows consumers to make a product they would otherwise have to purchase. The company has broken a barrier that many companies long for: they’ve crossed the threshold into the home. Offering SodaStream is a chance to grow their direct-to-consumer and ecommerce sales. It also provides Pepsi easier access to test new products with actual consumers.

2. Preparing for the Future

Pepsi hasn’t missed the slowdown in soda sales. In recent years, Pepsi has looked to broaden its appeal and shift its branding. It no longer wants to be seen as a soda company. Instead, they want a piece of the growing market for healthier and more natural options. The purchase of SodaStream complements other acquisitions and product developments Pepsi has made: they purchased Quaker, Sabra hummus, and Naked Juice, launched Bubly, and added flavored sparkling water to their Aquafina line. Additionally, Pepsi is buying SodaStream’s marketing as an environmentally conscious company, which is important to Millennials.

3. That’s Business, Baby.

As Tesla shares fall, Amazon takes over as most shorted U.S. stock

NEW YORK (Reuters) – With Tesla Inc’s (TSLA.O) shares briefly dipping below the $300 level on Thursday, the electric carmaker ceded its seat as the most shorted U.S. stock to Amazon.com Inc (AMZN.O), according to data from financial technology and analytics firm S3 Partners.

FILE PHOTO: A Tesla logo is seen in Los Angeles, California U.S. January 12, 2018. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson/File Photo

Tesla short interest in dollars, calculated using the number of shares sold short and the share price, stood at $9.93 billion, on Thursday, just shy of $9.95 billion for Amazon, S3 Partners data showed.

Analysts said investors were still shorting Tesla shares, or taking positions that amounted to bets the stock would keep declining. Short-sellers aim to profit by selling borrowed shares, hoping to buy them back later at a lower price.

The logo of Amazon is seen at the company logistics centre in Boves, France, August 8, 2018. REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol

“While there was some short covering the week after the tweet, there has still not been any significant net Tesla short covering on the Street,” said Ihor Dusaniwsky, head of research at S3 in New York.

“Any traders who have closed down their positions to realize some profits have been replaced by new ones looking for continued price weakness,” he said.

Tesla shares whipsawed this month after Chief Executive Elon Musk on Aug. 7 tweeted he planned to take the company private, only to abandon the idea by Aug. 24.

Tesla closed down 0.6 percent at $303.15, on Thursday. The stock drifted as low as $288.20 in intra-day trade as recently as Aug. 20, but it has not closed below $300 since July 31. Tesla rose as high as $387.46 following Musk’s initial tweet about the going-private plan.

Since the Aug. 7 tweet, the dollar amount of Tesla shares sold short has dropped by 16 percent, while that for Amazon has climbed by 32 percent, S3 Partners data showed.

Amazon shares rose above $2,000 for the first time on Thursday and the company is just shy of a $1 trillion market capitalization.

S3’s Dusaniwsky, however, said that with Tesla shares near the $300 level, the company could reclaim top spot for the most shorted U.S. stock, where it had stood since early May.

“A $300 Tesla price may be a signal of increased short selling since when Tesla’s stock price dipped below $300 per share in March, shares shorted climbed from 30.0 million to 41.6 million in just over two months,” said Dusaniwsky.

Apple Inc (AAPL.O), Alphabet Inc (GOOGL.O), Netflix (NFLX.O), Microsoft (MSFT.O) and Facebook Inc (FB.O), are some other top shorted U.S. stocks, as some investors have bet the high-flying technology names are due for a pullback.

Reporting by Saqib Iqbal Ahmed; Editing by Alden Bentley and David Gregorio

New OpenStack cloud release embraces bare metal

OpenStack is getting bigger than ever. It now powers more than 75 public cloud data centers and thousands of private clouds at a scale of more than 10 million compute cores. But it’s always been hard to upgrade from one version of OpenStack to another, and it’s been hard to deploy on bare metals. With OpenStack 18, Rocky, both problems are much easier to deal with now.

The open-source OpenStack cloud, like its ancestors, has always run well on diverse hardware architectures — bare metal, virtual machines (VMs), graphics processing units (GPUs), and containers. Bare metal was always a bit tricky. OpenStack Ironic, its bare metal provisioning module, is bringing more sophisticated management and automation capabilities to bare metal infrastructure. Nova, which provisions compute instances, now supports creating both virtual machines (VM)s and bare metal servers. This means it also supports multi tenancy, so users can manage physical infrastructure in the same way they manage VMs.

Also: Open-source community has an integration problem: OpenStack

Other new Ironic features include:

  • User-managed BIOS settings: BIOS (basic input output system) performs hardware initialization and has many configuration options that support a variety of use cases when customized. Options can help users gain performance, configure power management options, or enable technologies like single root input/output virtualization (SR-IOV) or Data Plane Development Kit (DPDK). Ironic also enables users to manage BIOS settings, supporting use cases like Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) and giving users more flexibility.
  • Conductor groups: In Ironic, the “conductor” is what uses drivers to execute operations on the hardware. Ironic has introduced the “conductor_group” property, which can be used to restrict what nodes a particular conductor (or conductors) have control over. This allows users to isolate nodes based on physical location, reducing network hops for increased security and performance.
  • RAM Disk deployment interface: A new interface in Ironic for diskless deployments. This is seen in large-scale and high performance computing (HPC) use cases when operators desire fully ephemeral instances for rapidly standing up a large-scale environment.

Julia Kreger, Red Hat principal software engineer and OpenStack Ironic project team lead, said in a statement, “OpenStack Ironic provides bare metal cloud services, bringing the automation and speed of provisioning normally associated with virtual machines to physical servers. This powerful foundation lets you run VMs and containers in one infrastructure platform, and that’s what operators are looking for.”

This isn’t just theory. It works. And it heading into production.

James Penick, Oath’s IaaS architect (Oath is AOL and Yahoo’s parent company), said Oath is already using OpenStack to manage “hundreds of thousands of bare metal compute resources in our data centers.” He added, “We have made significant changes to our supply chain process using OpenStack, fulfilling common bare metal quota requests within minutes.”

That’s good, but it’s not good enough.

“We’re looking forward to deploying the Rocky release to take advantage of its numerous enhancements such as BIOS management, which will further streamline how we maintain, manage and deploy our infrastructure,” Penick said.

Also: How to install OpenStack on Ubuntu Server with Devstack TechRepublic

That’s great, but many OpenStack users are already saying, “Maybe I’ll install this in 2021.”

Upgrading OpenStack isn’t easy. But OpenStack Rocky’s Fast Forward Upgrade (FFU) feature is ready for prime time, and it’s all set to help users overcome upgrade hurdles and get on newer releases of OpenStack faster. Now, FFU lets a OpenStack on OpenStack (TripleO) user on Release “N”, and they can quickly speed through intermediary releases to get on Release “N+3” (the current iteration of FFU being the Newton release to Queens). You can’t jump all the way to Rocky, but you can a lot closer to it more quickly than you ever could before.

Other new features are:

  • Cyborg provides lifecycle management for accelerators like GPUs, FPGA, DPDK, and SSDs. In Rocky, Cyborg introduces a new REST API for FPGAs. These floating point chips are used machine learning, image recognition, and other HPC use cases. This enables users to dynamically change the functions loaded on an FPGA device.
  • Qinling is introduced in Rocky. Qinling (“CHEEN – LEENG”), a function-as-a-service (FaaS) project. This delivers serverless capabilities on top of OpenStack clouds. It also enables developers to run functions on OpenStack clouds without managing servers, VMs or containers — while still connecting to other OpenStack services like Keystone.
  • Masakari, which supports high availability by providing automatic recovery from failures, expands its monitoring capabilities to include internal failures in an instance, such as a hung OS, data corruption, or a scheduling failure.
  • Octavia, the load balancing project, adds support for UDP (user datagram protocol). This brings load balancing to edge and IoT use cases.
  • Magnum, a project that makes container orchestration engines and their resources first-class resources in OpenStack, has become a Certified Kubernetes installer. This makes it easier to deploy Kubernetes on OpenStack.

Want to check the new OpenStack out? You can download Rocky today.

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Sears Stock Rallies After Amazon Deal Gives Its Stores a Surprise Boost

The summer of 2018 has been another tough period for Sears, but there’s one thing that has reliably helped lift the retailer’s share price: Amazon.

On Tuesday, Sears Holdings announced that it’s expanding a pilot program with Amazon to install and balance automobile tires that consumers buy through Amazon. Under the partnership, Amazon shoppers who buy tires, including the Die-Hard brand made by Sears, can ship the tires to a nearby Sears Auto Center for installation.

Amazon also offers similar ship-to-store programs with, for example, local bike shops. In May, when Sears announced it would service tires bought on Amazon, its shares shot up 38% during the following week.

Sears’ stock more than gave up those gains in June, however, after the company said sales fell 31% in its most-recent quarter and announced it would close 72 more stores. That was on top of hundreds of stores that Sears had closed in the previous couple of years. Last week, Sears said it would close yet another 46 stores, dragging its share price down even further to a record low of $1.08 a share.

News that Amazon and Sears were expanding the ship-to-store program from 47 initial stores to all Sears Auto Centers in the U.S. offered Sears a reprieve from the weeks of a declining share price. Sears shares surged as much as 23% to $1.37 a share Tuesday. While Sears’ stock price drifted down Wednesday, they were trading about 3% higher in afterhours trading at $1.26 a share.

Sears has been undergoing a long, painful restructuring for several years, with the stock now down 96% from its high point in 2013. Sears, K-Mart, and other onetime powerful retail brands have been struggling in the era of Amazon retailing. Amazon, meanwhile, has been working with brick-and-mortar retailers, including partnerships with Sears and Kohl’s and the purchase of Whole Foods Market.

Britain's O2 allows customers to choose smartphone pay back terms

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s O2 said it will allow customers to choose how much they pay upfront for a smartphone and how they spread the payments of the balance, targeting subscribers who want more control over their mobile contracts.

A man walks past an O2 phone store in Manchester, Britain March 7, 2016. REUTERS/Phil Noble/File Photo

The operator, owned by Spain Telefonica (TEF.MC), said customers would be able to pay for their new devices in monthly increments for any period between three and 36 months, all with no interest charged, as well as choosing an airtime plan.

Chief Executive Mark Evans said on Wednesday: “Our custom plans put power back in the hands of the consumers who don’t want to be tied down by rigid contracts especially at a time when certainty and transparency are at a premium in today’s economic environment.”

O2, the second largest British operator after BT (BT.L), said the “Custom Plans” built on the tariffs it introduced in 2013 that separate the cost of airtime and the cost of paying for the phone, and the change it made last year that allows customers to increase or decrease their airtime each month depending on their data needs.

Reporting by Paul Sandle; editing by David Evans