It’s the racy reds versus the battling blues as CWC gets ready to rumble

It looks to be a case of the blues versus the reds across the Caribbean telecommunications sector, where Denis O'Brien's Digicel is facing a new challenge.

The company’s biggest rival, Cable and Wireless Communications (CWC), announced this week it is ditching its Lime brand in favour of the blue-tinged Flow marque of Columbus, which CWC has just swallowed. Digicel’s in-your-face branding is most definitely red, which its billionaire founder is not, of course.

CWC this week also announced it has reached an agreement with UTV's TalkSport to stream audio coverage of Barclays Premier League matches to its telco customers. UTV also does business with O'Brien, whose Communicorp struck a deal with it in 2014 to provide UTV's Irish radio stations with news services.

CWC said its football deal with UTV gives it "sponsorship and marketing rights within the content", edging it closer to turf where Digicel is already a major player. Digicel last year acquired the Jamaican sports broadcaster, Sportsmax, which shows some Premier League matches on television.

Digicel, whose directors also include Leslie Buckley, the former political adviser PJ Mara and the Siteserv boss Sean Corkery, has invested heavily in fibre and cable television services in recent years.

The company is looking to expand beyond its traditional mobile bailiwick, but the recent nuptials between CWC and Columbus has created a sturdier competitor with which it must now contend.

Marketing gurus reckon blue-coloured brands portray dependability and strength. Red brands have a bold whiff of youthful exuberance and excitement.

O’Brien is fond of a bit of red when it comes to marketing: Digicel, Communicorp and some of its units such as 98FM, and Esat Digifone’s Speakeasy brand also included some of the colour.

He’ll surely have a strategy to prevent Digicel’s resurgent Caribbean competitor from giving him the blues.