This recovery-ROM-gapps configuration has been tested, and is known to work on the Huawei Ascend M860 with MetroPCS as the cellular service provider:
NOTE | If you flash the recovery image via your computer (and not via the command line on your phone), you do not have to root your phone, which will void your warranty.
There are many choices of recovery images, ROMS and versions of gapps for this particular phone; however, I have literally tested every other combination, and only those specified here are known to work flawlessly over the long-term.
The key to success was simply this: processor speed. Modding with any ROM that defaults to over 600 MHz will not work; otherwise, there will probably be no issues. Knowing this now, I will test in the near future the installation of the very latest Google Apps—which I know will work for at least a day—after having reduced the default processor speed set by the custom ROM to 600 MHz.
If it works, I will regain the portable hotspot feature, which allows me to use the Internet service on my phone for my laptop wirelessly, and without a USB tether or third-party software.
Upcoming: instructions for those wanting to mod their cellphone to run the latest Android OS.