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This paper proposes a mathematical model for assigning Node Bs to switches in UMTS networks, as well as an implementation of the tabu search metaheuristic for solving such a problem. In this model, the overall problem is divided into two assignment sub-problems: the assignment of a set of Node Bs to a set of radio network controllers (RNCs), and the assignment of those RNC concurrently to a set of voice switches (MSCs: Mobile Switching Centers) and a set of data switches (SGSNs: Serving GPRS Support Nodes). In order to solve the overall assignment problem, the proposed implementation defines a number of moves which enable to efficiently explore the set of possible solutions. Computational results enable to identify the parameters that are able to reduce the costs of the obtained solutions, as such costs are relatively close to the estimated lower bounds and found in reasonable computational time.