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In this paper a static network simulator is used to find downlink and uplink SHO areas. By introducing a penalty-based objective function and some hard constraints, we formally define the problem of balancing SHO areas in UMTS networks. The state-of-the-art mathematical model used and the penalty scores of the objective function are set according to the configuration and layout of a real mobile network, deployed in Slovenia by Telekom Slovenije, d.d.. The balancing problem is then tackled by three optimization algorithms, each of them belonging to a different category of metaheuristics. We report and analyze the optimization results, as well as the performance of each of the optimization algorithms used.