Virgin Mobile is now giving users the ability to use their smartphones as WiFi hotspots without violating Virgin's terms of service. The bad news is that sanctioned hotspot will cost you $5 for 250MB, good for a day. That seems pretty cheeky of Virgin when competitors Verizon Prepaid, AT&T GoPhone and T-Mobile Prepaid include hotspot at no extra charge on most plans. The upcharge is somewhat justified in Virgin's case because hotspot usage doesn't count against your plan's 2.5GB high-speed data allowance
Althoug advertised as a daily plan, your $5 buys you 250MB good until 11:59 PM of the following day. So if you activate it at 8:59AM today, you have 39 hours, until 11:59 PM tomorrow to use it up.
Mobile hotspot can be added from the "Manage My Account" feature on the Virgin Mobile site. The $5 is deducted from your cash balance so you may need to top up before you can purchase the add-on. The hotspot add-on doesn't automatically renew, it must be repurchased as needed.
According the Virgin site, the hotspot capability is limited to unspecified "applicable devices" and users should check their devices' user guide to see if it supports hotspot. That sounds like the add-on is available with any phone that is technically capable of being used as a hotspot. Several current Virgin Mobile phones, including the Kyocera Event, HTC Desire, LG Optimus F3 and Samsung Galaxy Victory, list Daily Mobile Hotspot as an available feature in their descriptions on the Virgin site. I'm guessing that hotspot probably works on all iPhones and Android phones. This is in contrast to Virgin's older, but still available, $15/month hotspot add-on which only works with the HTC Evo V, Samsung Galaxy SII, iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S.
I can see the $5 daily hotspot being OK for occasional usage by travelers but $5 for 250MBs is on the expensive side and the one or two day limitation makes it worse. Virgin Mobile needs to follow AT&T. Verizon and T-Mobile's lead and let its customers use their 2.5GB monthly data allowance anyway they want to including as a hotspot.