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Verizon planning $20 upgrade fee even for customers of Apple's iPhone Upgrade Program, leak suggests

Starting April 4, Verizon will be charging a flat $20 fee to upgrade most devices bought for its network — even when a customer is using Apple's iPhone Upgrade Program, according to a leaked memo.

The new fee is needed because of "increasing support costs associated with customers switching their devices," the memo obtained by MacRumors claims. People will also be charged a fee if they use a payment plan or upgrade at full retail cost, but not if they supply their own hardware.

A $40 fee is still in place for people upgrading on a two-year contract.

The iPhone Upgrade Program is nominally carrier-independent, giving subscribers an unlocked phone they can move to any other provider at will, and upgrade through Apple every 12 months. It does, however, cost at least $32.41 per month, and is still limited to the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus, despite the launch of the iPhone SE.

Verizon is not alone in charging upgrade fees. AT&T has a $15 cost associated with Next plans, while Sprint's fees can reach up to $36. Of the four major U.S. carriers, only T-Mobile now has no such upgrade fees.