The UK Government is to begin trialling a mobile phone emergency alert system for severe weather, industrial disasters and other risks.
As part of the efforts to trial the US-style alert system, the cabinet office is working with mobile networks including EE, O2 and Vodafone.
Cabinet office minister Francis Maude said the Government and mobile phone companies O2, Vodafone and EE will conduct separate tests later this year to look at a how different technologies work and how the public react when they receive an emergency alert to their phone.
"I want to reassure the public that these tests are not linked to any threat or specific hazard in their area. We have included diverse areas - both rural and urban - as part of our tests, as we want to look at how effective the different systems are in different areas in using mobile phones to deliver mass messaging," Maude said.
Messages will be sent to mobile phones in the test areas by SMS in parts of Suffolk and Glasgow, and by SMS and cell broadcasting in parts of Yorkshire. In total approximately 50,000 people across the three areas may receive the messages.
Trials will be carried out between late September and November, which would also allow ministers to assess the reaction of the public to the alerts.
Upon obtaining public feedback for emergency alerts, a report would be developed in early 2014, after which ministers would decide whether to deploy the scheme.
A similar system is already deployed in the US, the Netherlands and Australia to alert citizens of disappearances, wanted fugitives, and escaped felons, while countries including Japan and Chile working to implement their own mechanisms.
The trial come in the wake of the Strategic Defence and Security Review in 2010 embarked on the government's promise to 'evaluate options for an improved public alert system'.