The LiveTV division of JetBlue will assume Verizon Airfone's operations, which includes 100 towers with communication gear in the US: While Airfone ceased commercial operations in 2006 following their giving up early in the bidding for plum spectrum won by AirCell, they still have governmental and corporate ("general aviation") customers. JetBlue's LiveTV won the smaller of two licenses (1 MHz); AirCell won the 3 MHz auction. AirCell built its own network (an expansion of previous general aviation service), and is launching very shortly with Virgin America and America Airlines.
Ostensibly this purchase allows JetBlue a faster and simpler path into operations. Whether it's worth it to JetBlue is hard to tell, except that they will likely be marketing this service to other airlines as a differentiator. It will be lower bandwidth than AirCell, but could be likewise cheaper and used for shorter-haul flights.
Verizon notes some of the technical details of their service's business status on a FAQ for their corporate customers, which has an oddly large amount of business detail. Verizon was obligated within two years of the end of the auction for the spectrum they occupied with their very inefficient narrowband analog service to cease operations on those frequencies. That date is about now (the certification of the auction results was close to two years ago), and Verizon clearly worked out the details to allow current customers to maintain continuity through the spectrum vacation and into JetBlue's hands on January 1.
As I noted a few days ago, a few sources had already tipped me that JetBlue's test aircraft with Wi-Fi onboard and email was using the ancient Airfone network, which is capable of slow dial-up modem speeds, rather than using the 1 MHz which could conceivably carry over 500 Kbps of data in each direction per plane.