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In this work we present a novel scheme for statistical-based anomaly detection in 3G cellular networks. The traffic data collected by a passive monitoring system are reduced to a set of per-mobile user counters, from which time-series of unidimensional feature distributions are derived. An example of feature is the number of TCP SYN packets seen in uplink for each mobile user in fixed-length time bins. We design a change-detection algorithm to identify deviations in each distribution time-series. Our algorithm is designed specifically to cope with the marked non-stationarities, daily/weekly seasonality and longterm trend that characterize the global traffic in a real network. The proposed scheme was applied to the analysis of a large dataset from an operational 3G network. Here we present the algorithm and report on our practical experience with the analysis of real data, highlighting the key lessons learned in the perspective of the possible adoption of our anomaly detection tool on a production basis.