Seems like every time we're out of the States, we find ourselves fighting an overwhelming urge to whip out our phones every five to ten minutes, restore our cleverly disabled data APNs, and submit to the kind of punishment that only international data roaming can deliver. Giving into those kinds of urges can quickly lead to bills in the hundreds or thousands of dollars, thanks to data roaming packages that have historically been very weak and involve some insanely meager monthly allowance followed by a per-kilobyte fee high enough to make even the hardened business traveler beg for mercy. Seems AT&T and Verizon are both finally realizing that faster data speeds and more capable phones mean that users want at least a few fleeting moments with those services while abroad, though, introducing a series of new packages that should make roaming just marginally more palatable. For its part, AT&T's new offerings include a $60 add-on smartphone plan for 50MB in 67 countries around the globe -- up from 41 previously -- and another that bundles 5GB of domestic laptop data plus 200MB internationally for a sobering $230. On the Verizon side, the big news is a $130 laptop plan that gives users 5GB in the US and Canada, plus 100MB in Mexico and a handful of other countries for $20 per megabyte. In other words, you still need this service to justify the cost, but at least it won't put you as deeply into the poor house as it did last month. No YouTubing from China, y'hear?

HDTV Listings for August 4, 2008