That's do-able on some systems. We'd need more information to be able to answer that question. There are limitations you should be aware of. Most alarms with a "pager response" feature will only transmit the alarm once. There's no way for the panel to know that you actually received your page (or cell phone message). If you happen to be in an area with "iffy" coverage, you could wind up missing the call. This will be of no use to you if your house happens to be on fire...
Even though this thread has been beaten to death, here is an answer.
Yes you can "probably" get the system changed to a local... IF you can find someone to work on it. where are you by the way?
No you cannot have it call your cell and get anything meaningful from it. all you would hear is a bunch of beeps and noise. you would have to add a voice dialer as someone else mentioned. (i would give proper credit if i could figure who is who anymore. JEEZ)
There's an easy way to do that without reprogramming the alarm. Several companies make automatic voice & pager dialers that are designed to connect to an alarm system. The dialers can call from 1 to 8 telephone numbers and play one or more messages when triggered by the alarm system's "bell" (siren) output. Most of these voice dialers will also send a digital pager message. They don't send text though.
The user connects the dialer to the alarm control panel's + and - 12VDC aux power terminals and the "bell" output terminals. There is a dial pad which is used to record up to eight telephone numbers to be called in sequence. A microphone in the unit allows the user to record his own messages for different types of alarm signals (fire, burglary, panic, etc.)
The plus side of these dialers is they're inexpensive and easy to use. The down side is they're not as reliable as central station monitoring. The alarm user should decide what level of security is appropriate to his needs. If police response in his area is fast and his alarm company uses a professional central station with a good track record, 24 hour monitoring is a worthwhile investment. If he's in a remote location where services are sparse or if his alarm company can't/won't do a good job, a voice dialer may be the better choice.
When any of my DIY customers wants central monitoring I refer them to an online dealer I know. His company does a decent job (I assume so since I've never heard a bad word from anyone except their competitors).
I clients want to self-monitor, I offer one of our voice/pager dialers. The choice is the client's to make. Here's a URL to our page on voice/ pager alarm dialers.
Actually, you've pretty well said it all. Anything is "better than nothing", and "nothing" is what you'll have if you're going to rely on your alarm calling your cell phone. I'd check with your local authorities as well. I doubt they'd dispatch on a call from you saying that you've just received an alarm message (unverified) on your cell phone.