The new service will be rolled out gradually using telecommunications provider g8wave and featuring local headlines.
Subscribers will be able to choose between either a general news alert service or updates, according to their interests.
Third-party advertising opportunities are being investigated and trials will be carried out at smaller regional titles before the service is extended across larger publications.
Johnston Press is building a database of potential users of the service through local marketing initiatives, including "text to win" competitions and downloadable discount vouchers that can be used to redeem services and products.
The publisher's group newspaper sales and marketing director, Chris Pennock, said: "We are starting at a small base, but growing rapidly. In the past few months we have seen month-on-month growth of up to 40 per cent at some titles, but they are still very small numbers.
"What it shows, though, is that there is a market and an interest in this type of technology."