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Self-organization is a key factor for the future evolution of mobile networks, especially for introduction of the new radio standard LTE. Reasons are the increasing complexity, heterogeneity and management effort. Based on an overview about the current state of the art, the self-organization potential for enabling real plug and play functionality, automatic network optimization, improved end-to-end QoS and new energy saving technologies is highlighted. This is especially true for the upcoming trend towards small cell deployments. Our vision is an essentially simplified network management architecture relying on a distributed self-organization functionality which enables large steps towards autonomous operation of network elements.