More than half of all mobile phones sold in Western Europe this year will be 4G LTE enabled, cementing the next-gen technology's position as the fastest ever adopted, according to new research.

The CCS Insight report predicts that 56 percent of all phones sold in Western Europe in 2014 will have 4G LTE capabilities.

Globally, the research firm forecasts that shipments of 4G LTE phones will grow by 130 percent between 2014 and 2018, meaning 1.2 billion such phones will be on the market in four years time.

The spread of 4G LTE is unparalleled, CCS said.

Further, the average price of 4G LTE phones will fall below €100 by the end of this year, it added.

Having strengthened its partnership with Samsung in January, Google looks set to retain its hold on the market through the Android OS. It accounts for 79 percent of the one millon smartphones sold worldwide in 2013.

Apple too can expect increases in sales of its iPhones, though according to Director of Forecasting at CCS, Marina Koytcheva, it could see an overall fall in its market share, unless it offers significant developments in its new designs.

"We forecast Apple's global market share will decline. Apple's absolute growth depends on this year's new iPhone bringing major innovations or at least a big leap in the user experience. If it doesn't, Apple can expect rivals to seize the opportunity in North America and Europe."

There may also be positive news for the Windows Phone as Microsoft turns Blackberry's fall from grace to its advantage. As Blackberry declines, opportunities in the enterprise market may become available and Microsoft is currently best-placed to take advantage of them, according to Koytcheva. 

"Abolishing the licence fee for Windows devices with screens under nine inches and updating the software to work on lower-cost hardware will enable Microsoft to compete at new low price points," said the analyst.

"We continue to question the depth of phone manufacturers' commitment to Windows Phone compared with Android, but the significance of removing the licence fee can't be ignored.”

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