MetroPCS was an independent company with its own CDMA network users on Metro's $50 and $60 plans were allowed to use their phones as WiFi hotspots to share the phone's data plan with a tablet or laptop. T-Mobile acquired MetroPCS in May, 2013 and is shutting down MetroPCS' legacy CDMA network and moving MetroPCS service and customers to the T-Mobile GSM network.
Until recently MetroPCS has blocked hotspot on the GSM network. There were ways to get around the block but they violated the operator's terms of service, didn't always work and were complex and/or required extra cost software.
Effective August 3rd, MetroPCS GSM users on the $40, $50 and $60 plans can now add hotspot to their accounts for $5 per month. On the $60 plan, which includes unlimited on-phone high speed data, hotspot usage is limited to 2.5GB per month. On the less expensive plans hotspot usage is unlimited, however those plans include only limited amounts of high speed data; 500MB on the $40 plan and 2.5GB on the $50 plan. After the high speed data allowance is used up, data speeds are throttled to glacially slow 128 Kbps or less for the rest of the plan month. Additional high-speed data (and additional hotspot data on the $60 plan) is available at $5 for 1GB.
The hotspot option can be activated on user's MyAcount page. For more information about the new Mobile Hotspot option see this MetroPCS page.
While it's nice that MetroPCS has made it possible to use Hotspot on their GSM phones, I hate that they are charging users extra to use the data they have already paid for in a different manner. Admittedly $5/month isn't much but Hotspot is available at no extra charge on GoPhone, Verizon ALLSET and T-Mobile's own prepaid plans. It could be worse however, Sprint's Boost Mobile and Virgin Mobile charge an insane $5 per day for hotspot!
Related: Prepaid Operator Profile: MetroPCS