China and Huawei need US more than America needs them in 5G wireless race, say industry insiders

Key Points
  • Trump's order effectively blacklisting Huawei from the U.S. market will not hurt America in the 5G race, says a well-known CEO.
  • The person told CNBC's Joe Kernen that Verizon and AT&T "'will deploy 5G services and innovation better than anyone in the world.'"

President Donald Trump's new order effectively blacklisting Huawei, the Chinese telecommunications networking equipment maker and smartphone giant, from the U.S. market will not hurt America in the race to build out next-generation 5G wireless technology, a well-known CEO and a top telecom investment banker who did not want to be identified told CNBC on Friday.

CNBC's Joe Kernen reported on two emails he received from a "well-known CEO" and a "really smart telecom investment banker," as the discussion on "Squawk Box" turned to the president's latest salvo in the U.S.-China trade war, a national emergency declaration over threats against American technology.

The move announced Wednesday states, among other requirements, that U.S. firms must seek government approval before doing business with Huawei. The Trump administration alleges that Huawei poses a national security threat because of close ties to the communist Chinese government.

One of Huawei's booths at MWC Barcelona 2019.
Elizabeth Schulze | CNBC

Huawei has denied those allegations, arguing that restricting its access to America "will not make the U.S. more secure or stronger; instead, this will only serve to limit the U.S. to inferior yet more expensive alternatives, leaving the U.S. lagging behind in 5G deployment, and eventually harming the interests of U.S. companies and consumers."

The investment banker told Kernen that Verizon and AT&T "'will deploy 5G services and innovation better than anyone in the world,'" no matter which company provides the infrastructure. The banker also said, "'Does it matter if you use a Chinese manufactured phone or computer to access Facebook or Google. No.'"

The CEO, who also wanted to remain anonymous, told Kernen, in a jab at Huawei, "'[If] Huawei has no access to U.S. tech, do they have a 5G product? If the U.S. has no access to China's tech do we have a product? The answer is, yes.'"

The Trump administration has pushed allies around the world not to adopt Huawei's 5G technology, which American officials have warned could be used for spying by the Chinese. Those efforts have had mixed results in Europe, where several countries declined to stop doing business with the company.

In recent months, the U.S. government has taken a number of steps against the firm, including getting Canadian authorities in December to arrest Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou over allegations of defrauding several banks by concealing payments from Iran in violation of U.S. sanctions. The company has denied the allegations.