A common communications system 19 provides information regarding the availability of other local communication systems 11-17 within the common communications system coverage area to a generic, programmable subscriber unit 20. Geographical location information is then supplied to the common communications system indicating position of the subscriber unit. This information is used by either the common communication system or subscriber unit to provide information pertinent only to one or more local communications systems 11-17 that the subscriber unit may select. The common communication system or the subscriber unit can also be used to selectively filter or extract information such that the information presented to the user is related to the geographical location.; The subscriber unit then selects one of the local communications systems 11-17 and receives programming from that local communication system, thereby enabling the subscriber unit to configure itself to operate on the selected communication system.