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Assigning cells to switches in cellular mobile networks is an NP-hard problem which, for real size mobile networks, could not be solved using exact methods. In this context, heuristic approaches like memetic algorithms can be used. This paper proposes a memetic algorithm (MA) to solve this problem. The implementation of this algorithms has been subject to extensive tests. The results obtained confirm the efficiency and the effectiveness of MA to provide good solutions for moderate- and large-sized cellular mobile networks, in comparison with tabu search and Merchant and Sengupta's heuristics. This heuristic can be used to solve NP-hard problems, like designing and planning, in the next-generation mobile networks.