If it is, why does Verizon want to get rid of its 700Mhz holding?

Why is Verizon interested in acquiring AWS Spectrum - 1.7GHz/2.1GHz - in exchange for it selling off its lower 700MHz spectrum. At first this might seem odd because lower frequencies work better for indoor coverage hence requiring lower capital outlay in tower infrastructure (and with the same density happier customers who don't have to deal with all the indoor coverage issues we see at 2.5GHz). However, the lower the frequency the larger the antenna needed. At the tower this is not such a big deal but on the device this could be a challenge. Larger mobile device antennas means larger devices as well as lower possible separation distance between MIMO or diversity antennas (which increases antenna correlation and hence decreases the MIMO performance advantage). Large devices also don't work well for M2M (machine-to-machine) systems where the radio device is normally embedded deep inside the device or appliance - and we know Verizon is very interested in M2M.

Also because Verizon is already using its upper C-Block 700MHz spectrum for its LTE network it would need to install sub-gigaherz duplexers to isolate these spectrum bands and this is complex and expensive leading to higher device costs. Licensees who only own lower A- and B- block licenses will not be faced by this challenge. Also recall there are yet unresolved issues with lower 700MHz band interfering with the TV channel 51. Additionally the AWS spectrum is nationwide but the A & B block licenses that Verizon wishes to offload is not.