Was it a mistake in gamesmanship or a limit to what they wanted to bid? Verizon has been the exclusive user of the 4 MHz of bandwidth in the 800 MHz band for air-to-ground communications for some years operating its expensive to use and expensive to operate AirFone service on U.S. domestic planes. They expected to win this auction (Auction 65) for one of two licenses that will be awarded for service that will use the same bandwidth while AirFone moves to a different system that won't interfere with these new licenses.
And now Verizon is no longer a bidder.
Each bidder had three waivers they could play in any given round that allowed them to continue to keep the auction open without making a new bid (read Public Notice DA 06-299 for details). The waivers can be applied proactively, which means the bidder chooses to use the waiver, or automatically, in which the FCC uses the waiver because if they did not, the bidder would have been removed from eligibility. That is, it's better to waste a waiver for some reason than to not being able to bid after that round at all.
According to the bidding site, all of Verizon's waivers were applied automatically, as there are no proactive waivers noted for any bidder. A few other bidders have had automatic waivers applied, but only once.
The current bidding for Round 21 is for licenses E/F (1 MHz/3 MHz) for $343K and $15.9m. The 3 MHz provisional winner is Unison Spectrum, which qualified for 25 percent bidding credits, giving them a much lower net figure to win this auction. Round 22 ends shortly at which time I will update this post.
Update: At the end of Round 22, AC Bidco (AirCell's new sister company, both of which are held by a common holding firm) has the provisional winning bid at $17.5m for license C with Intelligent Transportation holding license D for $359K. Bidding continues Thursday.