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Mobility management is a functionality that facilitates mobile device operations in Universal Mobile Telecommunications System (UMTS) or Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) networks. Mobility management is used to trace physical user and subscriber locations to provide mobile phone services, like calls and Short Message Service (SMS).
UMTS and GSM are each made up of separate cells (base stations) that cover a specific geographical area. All base stations are integrated into one area, allowing a cellular network to cover a wider area (location area).
The location update procedure allows a mobile device to notify a cellular network when shifting between areas. When a mobile device recognizes that an area code differs from a previous update, the mobile device executes a location update, by sending a location request to its network, prior location and specific Temporary Mobile Subscriber Identity (TMSI). A mobile device provides updated network location information for several reasons, including reselecting cell location coverage due to a faded signal.
Location area includes a group of base stations assembled collectively to optimize signaling. Base stations are integrated to form a single network area known as a base station controller (BSC). The BSC manages allocation of radio channels, acquires measurements from cell phones, and handles handovers from one base station to another.
Roaming is among the basic procedures of mobility management. It enables subscribers to use mobile services when moving outside of the geographical area of a specific network.