I live in a place with no LTE, but honestly if it were to degrade battery life I'd rather live without it: faster network is always nice, but the current one is fast enough.
Imagine if when Microsoft was designing Windows 7 they said "well, no one is using IPv6 right now so we won't include any support."
That's not a fair comparison. IPv6 is required so our internet doesn't crumble around us, LTE is just getting cat pictures to your eyeballs quicker.
When the operators/LTE network vendors get their voice act together, phone vendors can start selling proper LTE phones.
Not that it matters if your network has no LTE.