In a keynote address at the opening of the CTIA conference in New Orleans, FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski defended his agency’s actions with respect to AT&T’s now-defunct plan to merge with rival T-Mobile USA, as he insisted that “we have to pursue all the other tools and policies at our disposal” to accommodate the spectrum needs of wireless carriers. Last December, AT&T canceled its plan to acquire T-Mobile after the FCC indicated that it would designate the $39 billion transaction for hearing before an administrative law judge. (At that time, AT&T was also defending itself against a Justice Department lawsuit that sought to block the merger on anticompetitive grounds.) AT&T, which had claimed the merger was needed to provide AT&T with sufficient spectrum capacity to fulfill its plan to bring fourth-generation long term evolution services to 97% of the U.S. population, has since predicted that the FCC’s actions will lead to higher consumer prices. In a recent statement, Jim Cicconi, a senior executive vice president at AT&T, maintained that, “without additional capacity, which would have been created by our transaction, prices rise,” as “basic economics, and the law of supply and demand, apply to the wireless industry as to all others.” Refuting AT&T’s claims, Genachowski told an audience on Tuesday that “the overall amount of spectrum hasn’t changed, except for the amount we’ve added to it.” Genachowski pointed out further that the FCC has approved many other wireless transactions over the past year as he stressed that “our review of one transaction that crossed the line simply proves that there is a line.” While admitting that the FCC “was within its rights to withhold its approval” of the AT&T/T-Mobile deal, Cicconi maintained in reply that the FCC “is incorrect when it denies the impact such decisions have on the price of wireless services.”